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A Look at Teenage Drinking

This country in which we live has many problems facing it. And many of these problems are not simple, but rather, very complex. It was not too long ago that I came across an article which stated that “there is no clearer gauge of a society’s frustration than the extent to which it throws simplistic laws at complex problems”.

According to that quote we Americans are one of the most frustrated nations on earth.

Now several states are caught up in perhaps one of the saddest of all efforts to legislate a quick fix to a problem of immense complexity. Legislatures are trying to solve the problem of wide-spread teenage drinking of alcohol by raising the legal drinking age. For a legislature to the lift the “legal” drinking age to twenty and expect to solve the problem of drinking in high school is about as futile as having the city council of a flood-ravaged town pass a resolution forbidding it to rain.

The shocking truth is that authorities now estimate that over one million teenagers drink to excess, and that over three million drink themselves into trouble with school authorities and the police. A recent survey at one affluent New York City area public high school found only two of 108 teenagers who said they did not drink.

Those arguing for a higher legal drinking age claim that 18 year old seniors in high school buy alcohol and pass it on to 14 and 15 year old. There is, of course, some truth to this. But the grim truth is that the legal age for drinking has very little to do with the availability of alcoholic beverages in and around the high schools of America. An eighteen year old who wants to favor a sixteen year old with a bottle of gin will steal it from home or get a twenty year old buddy to get it for him.

The real shame of all of this seems to be that as a country we are content to sit back and believe that the complications of modern life can be made sweet again with a piece of legislation here and a constitutional amendment there.

But this is not intended to take a look at the pros and cons of the teenage legal drinking age, but rather, we should look at the problem and how it affects us.

As Christian young people, we are not insensitive to the problems that are facing others. This whole area of alcohol abuse cannot simply be put on the back burner to let simmer for a while. We must be sincere to our own conscience and admit that the problem does carry over into our own lives as well.

It would be so handy if we could say that being a Christian makes us somehow immune from the world about us, and in particular, this problem.

The world tries to reason the entire difficulty away by blaming, among other things, America affluence. Could it be that too many high schoolers are driving cars and carrying around allowances so huge that they can buy wine or vodka, or marijuana without mom or dad wondering where the money went.

Or they point to the deterioration of the American home. Could it be that the American family has deteriorated to a point where parents exercise little or no discipline? If a teacher called a home forty years ago and said, “Your child has been drinking”, that child was in for a terrible time. The teacher who makes that call today runs the risk of being attacked by the drinking student and sued by the parents for “slander”.

There is some truth to these arguments. But as Believers we must look at this from a spiritual view-point.

And with the spiritual view-point in mind, we realize the problem is man’s sinful nature, and more personally, our sinful nature.

We are faced with a world that grows more and more wicked every day. And sometimes we find ourselves wondering how God can hold His judgement back any longer. There is no doubt that we are in the last times. Luke 21:31-34: “So likewise, ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know yet that the Kingdom of God is nigh at hand. Verily I say unto you, this generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.”

So what can we do without this problem as it affects each of us? I believe the only place for us to begin is in our knees before God in prayer for His forgiveness. The strength we need to overcome any temptations is received from God only after we confess our sins and turn our way from them.

Paul speaks of our being imitators of God in Ephesians, and this is something we can ask ourselves often. Do our actions reveal us to be imitators of our Heavenly Father?

Can others see the love that I have for Him when I drink?

The world care not one bit for God. And she will sink deeper and deeper into sin until God says it is enough. We must stand fast and fight against all temptation, not just this one concerning alcohol. It is our calling as the Church of Jesus Christ.