I read an article out of the Abilene Reporter News that really bothered me. In truth, it really angered me. I’m going to post the article instead of the link because it is relatively short. It is titled, “Abilene needs to clear up its alcohol addiction”
“One of the things that really bothers me is the amount of alcohol abuse in Abilene. This is something our churches could pull together and do something about. I was in 7-Eleven the other morning and a gentleman was buying beer at 7:30 a.m. He was already too intoxicated to buy, in my opinion, but the clerk sold it to him. Just think, how many beer cans, whiskey bottles and bags that hold the items people could get off our streets. The drunks sitting behind the stores drinking would be gone. Let's see clutter and drunks out from behind the stores. I can live without this. I know that it generates a lot of revenue in Abilene, but let's not get into greed. It might close a few stores that generate anywhere from $500 to $3,000 a day -- I don't see any of this money, so close them. It will all get down to pulling together and cleaning up our town, forget about the money. If you take a serious look at it, it's a problem. It causes prostitution, homelessness and an addiction that is almost impossible to get rid of. I know everyone wants to do something about this. So, get out from behind your desk, pull together and 'git er done.'”
There were several comments along with this article, some who agreed, many who did not. First and foremost, this is something that could have started with the gentleman who saw the man purchasing the alcohol. We, as Christians, are all called to be witnesses in one form or another of Jesus Christ. Instead of writing an opinion article about the “problem”, he could have had the first impact on this man. He says that “he” can live without the “drunks sitting behind the stores”. God warns us against judgment. In Romans 2:1-3 the Bible says, "You have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things. But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God?"
The writer of the article also mentions to “not get into greed”, but where is his compassion, his love? People who are caught in the middle of an addiction are hurting people and we do not know where they are in their spiritual life. Many people do not understand addiction which is why it is so easy to “throw away” or get those “off our streets” who are caught up in this sin. However, it is a sin and only God can break them down to a place of brokenness and contriteness; we do not know where anyone is in their walk with God. It is a shame to make something as serious as an addiction about cleaning up a town; it should be about cleaning up a soul. This can start with you. That very person who is buying beer at 7:30 in the morning may be an alcoholic but if that is all you see them as then YOU become just as wrong as they are. "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,' when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye. (Luke 6:41-42) Sin comes in many forms, and Satan is deceitful. And writing and cleverly disguised opinion article isn't a the best way to rally your brothers and sister's in Christ to clean up what you may see as "clutter and drunks" in the town. They are people, they are also your brothers and sisters in Christ and they are also loved by God. The next time you see one of your brothers and sisters buying that drink, stop and ask yourself why? Why might they be hurting? Why are you? And what can YOU do to help them?