Just One Drink
I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. Jude 1:3
It’s not uncommon to hear the alcoholic who’s been sober for a while say something like this – I think I could have just one drink. I’ve learned my lesson. I feel confident that I can drink like a normal person now. I get it. I want to be normal too. There’s a part of me that would like to be able to have a drink like others. I’d also like to think that the part of me that was broken is fixed. I’m better now. Don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine with just one drink.
Those of us listening to the alcoholic talk about having just one drink simply shake our heads though. We know where this goes. We’ve seen it play out repeatedly. Perhaps somewhere, sometime, there was someone who had a problem with alcohol who then learned to drink responsibly, but we’ve never seen it. It always ends the same. The alcoholic has one drink – and nothing happens at first, which reinforces his idea that he’s fixed. So, he repeats it again the next week. Soon, he’s repeating it every night . . . and then every hour. It always ends the same. Pain. Shame. Consequences. I guess I couldn’t handle just one.
This is the job of those in recovery – to remind others of certain realities. There are some unchangeable boundaries in recovery, but there are always those who are going to push the boundaries, trying to change the truth. I’m pretty sure you all got it wrong. I believe I can have a drink. I’m going to ignore the wisdom, success, and experience of all who’ve gone before me because I know better. When this happens, it’s up to the rest of us to champion the truth. You can have one drink if you want, but it won’t end well, and we won’t let you drag others down with you.
In today’s passage, John wrote this same message to his church, contending for the truth. He warned that certain people had crept into the church, perverting grace, faith, and truth. John cautioned that this departure from the truth must be confronted. If they wanted to preserve the faith, they had to champion it, which meant confronting those who would cause its decay.
We often don’t like these passages. We’d prefer a passage on love, unity, and grace. John though, reminded us that if our faith is worth anything, then we must fight for it, championing the truth – even if it means enduring the discomfort of confronting those who’d lead us back to just one drink.