How would Jesus party?
Everyone's having a good time, the drinking begins, what do you do?
It’s happening again. Someone is having a party this weekend while their parents are away, and you know that it definitely won’t be red cordial on the drinks menu. You’re just dreading this conversation, which you know is going to happen:
Friends: “Are you going to come?”
You: “Um, ar, I don’t know.”
The question has been asked by everyone, for years now. I even asked it when I was at high school. The question is "How should Christians act at parties?": Here's a few things to think about.
Should I go to a party where I know everyone will be getting drunk?
And there’s often a second question that goes with it: What about if I’m hoping to evangelise when I’m there?
The answer comes in two parts. The first part relates to the alcohol, and there’s a pretty simple answer. If you’re under 18 (UK/AUS/CAN, 21 USA), it’s not legal for you to be drinking. It’s also not legal for someone to be supplying you with alcohol. If you go to a party where there is alcohol, you, or someone at that party will be breaking the law. For me, it’s a no-brainer. Don’t go.
However, if you’re over 18 (UK/AUS/CAN, 21 USA), obviously, you’re allowed to drink, and people are allowed to serve you drinks. So wisdom and sense need to come into play.
Use wisdom if you hang around people who are drinking
Whatever you decide, you need to be aware of what you’re dealing with. Drunk people do stupid things and get in messes. And I’m not just talking about ending up lying in their own vomit. Alcohol-fuelled violence, drink driving, date rape and spiked drinks are risks that you take if you hang around with people who have been drinking.
And if everyone is drinking, they will want you to drink too. Are you strong enough or wise enough to remain sober when everyone around you is getting smashed?
Romans 12:3 reminds us to not think of ourselves “more highly than we ought, but rather think of ourselves with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given us.”
Be wise in this. There’s no rule that says you can’t go to a party. But there’s also no principle that says it’s a great idea to put yourself into a situation that could get way out of control.
What about evangelising at parties?
It sounds really spiritual to argue that a good reason for going to a party is so that you can evangelise the people there. Be honest with yourself. Sometimes that might be true, but other times the reason we really want to go is to avoid social death.
The three times I’ve had ‘great’ spiritual conversations with drunk people at parties, I’ve come home and realised that the next day, they can’t remember a single word of what they or I have said!
A better solution?
Does this all sound too negative? Here's a different idea - organise something else yourself.
Get together with friends for a BBQ, go to the beach, or whatever it is you like to do. Go on the offensive and organise some parties where people actually have fun and feel good about themselves the next day. Who knows, you might even get to have a chat about why you're so different to everyone else.
For more, check out Andy Judd's article on alcohol.
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