For those that grew up with siblings do you remember when you were young and you were told to stop touching your sister? What inevitably happened? You guessed it. In a matter of seconds you would be stretching out your hand and pointing your finger as close to her as you could repeating “I’m not touching you. I’m not touching you.” Of course this would get you the same response as if you were but the point was you weren’t touching her. Sometimes we act like that even as adults. For instance, we want to go as far as we can without sinning. We get as close as possible and it’s as if we’re saying I’m not sinning. I’m not sinning.
Several times, while teaching at the jail, a question about smoking has surfaced. While there is no clear command found in the Bible that tells us “Thou shalt not smoke” ultimately I tell them lungs were never designed for smoke. That may be the reason we tend to cough when we inhale smoke, right?
One guy had been out on probation but they found out he had smoked pot so he was put back in jail. He was fussing because he thought smoking weed wasn’t that bad, and he didn’t see anything wrong with it. I told him it was still illegal and on top of that he knew he wasn’t suppose to be smoking it while on probation so it was only fair that he would have to finish his time in jail. I suggested to him that he could work to get the law changed but until then he had violated his probation.
One can get tangled up in all sorts of “what if’s” and “I think’s” when it comes to the gray areas in the Bible but ultimately the point is what about the other person? How is what I’m engaging in going to effect others. While it is true we have plenty of freedom in Christ we aren’t free to do things if we know they will make our brother stumble. It is generally a sign of immaturity in a believer when they are always looking for what they can get away with.
The Apostle Paul dealt with this issue several times, but in Romans 14 we read where he said, “We pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another…” “It is good not to eat meat or to drink wine, or to do anything (like smoking) by which your brother stumbles.” If we are doing things that we are unsure of we are not acting in faith are we? Paul said, “Whatever is not from faith is sin” so that clears it up for me.