Me. Singing a Solo. In Church.

Me. Singing a Solo. In Church.

He drank of the wine and became drunk and lay uncovered in his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father and told his two brothers outside. Genesis 9:21-22

As a child, I had a decent singing voice, and inevitably, I got a short solo in one of our church’s musical productions. I enjoyed the compliments and so, I planned to continue my solo career. Then puberty hit, and, well, let’s just say that no one should ever have to hear me sing now. Self-awareness doesn’t come immediately to a 13-year-old though. I didn’t initially realize my voice had become unpleasant. I still aspired to sing and so, I once again found myself on stage, performing a solo with my now awful voice. It wasn’t good. In fact, it was terrible. Painful self-awareness struck as I became embarrassed for myself. Now, remembering the misery of that experience, I have actively avoided singing up front ever since.

This is normal self-preservation. When we encounter a painful, embarrassing situation, we avoid that same situation in the future. Well, I guess I’ll never do that again. We don’t enjoy humiliation. If I asked you to sing and dance with me on stage next Sunday morning, you wouldn’t hesitate to say no. If, however, I asked you to have 5 or 10 drinks with me at the bar on Saturday night, perhaps singing karaoke, you might be interested.

Here’s the thing though – I can say with confidence that drinking too much has never resulted in anything constructive in my life. Alcohol lowers our inhibitions, making us say and do things that we would never do otherwise. All our worst, contemptible traits come broiling to the surface while intoxicated, as we behave in ways that seem like a good idea at the time, but which we’ll be embarrassed by tomorrow. You’d think that, after embarrassing ourselves once, we’d crawl back into the protective shell of sobriety. But no, if we drink heavily – because we like the dopamine high of alcohol – some of us put ourselves in this situation repeatedly. I know a lot of people who can have a drink or two without causing any damage, but getting drunk is simply never productive.

The shame of drunkenness is illustrated in today’s passage. In the story, Noah made wine, got drunk, and laid naked in the sight of everyone. Would he normally do this? Of course not. In his inebriation though, his judgment abandoned him. Later, he’d be embarrassed, but while intoxicated, it seemed like a good idea. Drinking too much always leads to shame, misery, and self-destructive behavior.

So, why do we do it? Why would we subject ourselves to the humiliation of intoxication. Because we like it. We like the high of alcohol. We tell ourselves we’ll be good this time, justifying that first drink. But for those of us who can’t control it, we’re playing with fire. For those of us who can’t have just one, the only answer is abstinence. Like me avoiding a church solo, we must avoid that first drink. One is too many and a thousand is never enough.

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