Let me begin by saying I fully expect to get in trouble for the post. I have considered what I am about to write. I have sat on these thoughts for days (some even years) and I feel like it is time to share them. I am ready for people to call me judgmental and petty. I trust others will just think this is silly. Some will even accuse me of being legalistic or “rules” bent or something in that lane of thought. With that in mind, my heart for this is just one of concern and confusion. I really love Jesus and his church. (His church being those who are his disciples/followers). When a person claims to belong to Jesus, that carries weight with me. This is not an association that should be taken lightly. My experience both first-hand as an observer with people who profess a personal faith with Jesus and how they behave on St. Patrick’s Day has continually perplexed me.
I married into an Irish family. Every year my family joins thousands of people in the city of Columbus, Ohio, for the Irish Family Reunion. We hit the parade and then make our way to Vets where thousands gather to listen to Irish music, watch Irish dancing, hang out, eat and of course, drink. I mention this simply to say I have had a first-hand sampling of what many partake in on St. Patrick’s Day. Furthermore, thanks to Facebook and Twitter, now I get pictures and tweets and status updates that are just dropped in front of me. I do not go looking for these, they just are in front of you in the course of what I would look at almost any day. So as I have heard the stories, read the posts, seen the pictures and witnessed the actions, I have felt led to share this to those people who love Jesus and yet are big into the St. Patrick’s Day thing. Please note, this is for people who are calling themselves Christians. If you are not one, no worries. This is not for you. But if you are saying that you are with Team Jesus, then keep reading.
Dear Christian who loves St. Patrick’s Day,
You are alive and it is a day that ends in “y.” This means Jesus is King and Lord. It means His ways are the ways we are to pursue. So just like any other day for the Christian, we are an ambassador for the Lord. We represent Him. We are to point people to Him. God wants to make His plea through us. This means that March 17 is not a day off. Neither is our birthday, or our friend’s bachelor party, or the wedding we are going to next weekend or some time on vacation. God wants to use our every breath to make Him famous. This includes the days we have on green t-shirts from Old Navy.
God is not a prude. He invented wine and alcohol and the distilling process. He even turned water into wine. He drank wine. We are even encouraged to drink and be merry as a way of enjoying life. But God also clearly states boundaries. Any boundary God gives is for our protection and His plan, so we must heed it. God states many times that drunkeness is a sin. We say and do things we would not do without the influence of alcohol running through our bodies. Many of these things are not good. Some green beads around our neck do not change God’s direction for this area of our lives.
Camera phones and social media are tricky things. You many have only had one drink and are just hanging out. But what you present to others does matter when you are connected to Christ. So the standard picture of you in a green hat, with your arm around 2 girls, holding a Guinness may be innocent, but that is not clear. I am learning to assume the best about these kind of pictures and images, because I have made wrong assumptions. That said, just be careful with what ends up in the cyber world. Technology has a way of making things instant, permanent and global…and you may not be ready for that.
If your St. Patrick’s Day plans look the same after you became a disciple of Jesus than before you were a follower, this should be a cause for pause. Jesus changes us. We are defined by Him and His grace. Our direction and worth are found in Him. There is no need to chase superficial hookups and nights of shots because we have come to see that those things could never give us was God can through Christ. But if you are “all-in” for Jesus and nothing has changed….maybe you are not really “all-in.” Look, every believer continues to sin, I know this by the reality of the grossness of my own life, but there ought be progress and a reshaping of our values if we are truly His. Here is what I am getting at…what is driving you to keep wanting that same March 17 experience?
I love Jesus and you say you do to. I want to understand how it is possible to mix our love for Christ with the traditional view of our culture that says I am going to wake up on March 18 with a hangover. Help me understand. I am for you and love you.
I don’t think people should roll their eyes or get offended by a blog about this. I believe people should be willing to be held accountable when it comes to someone talking with them about their obedience to God. Is it difficult to hear when it is not obeying God like we should? Yes! As I continue to grow in my faith, I continue to be more and more aware of alcohol and why God chose to speak about drunkeness being a sin all throughout scripture. I really hope people read this and understand that you are not judging them but that you are doing what the bible calls you to do. I really enjoyed reading this blog:-)
I loved this blog. Through my work, I daily see how drugs and alcohol can destroy lives. What often starts out as casual use quickly escalates when someone goes through difficult times and turns to alcohol or drugs instead of God. I’m sure everyone reading this knows someone personally that this has happened to. Why walk the edge of sin and temptation? Why not run as far from it as possible? I have chosen not to consume alcohol at all as part of my Christian walk. If even one person observed me drinking and had a negative thought about Christians, I’m dishonoring Jesus. We have so many other struggles with sin in our daily lives, this seems to me like an easy one to make a choice in.
I am a christian of many years and am bothered by the the worlds view of what a Christian is or how they act. One time I was at a gas station buying a lottery ticket, $1.00 of hope, and my neighbor said, “I figured you would be the last person to ever buy one of those!” It made me think who is messed up here? I think it is her because she believes a lottery ticket is sin or wrong. It does amaze me how she thinks I am a Holy Roller and not just a guy next door who believes what God has finished through His Son, Jesus. I doubt very much if she reads or even understands the Bible. She definitely understands the concept of wrong or sin.
I like Joesphy’s quote from Fiddler on the Roof, “Lord if wealth is such a curse, then smite me with it.” Life is funny and should be fun. Don’t worry no one get out with out feeling the sting of sin.
One last thing. St. Patrick went to rid an Island of sin. The only way I know of to do that, is to bring the Good News that is found in the Bible. If that is your goal or your hope then celebrate in the Lord and party on.