This weekend is the big game. I don’t need to tell anyone in the Kansas City area as the town is abuzz with Chief’s mania. Sunday evening, the game will kick-off, and a new world champion football team will be crowned. The event will be celebrated in many ways in the area with all kinds of gatherings and parties. There will be food and alcoholic beverages in abundance.
This is not a post about the evils of alcohol, although I have thought about writing a perspective on the topic. No, this post is about the impression people give when they drink. Having spent time counseling couples, working with struggling adults, and trying to guide teens into wise decisions, I have learned a thing or two about what you will see this weekend. The outward picture will be of people have a good time. There will be an appearance of fun that looms large at every party.
The problem is what lies beneath the surface. Most of the people I speak with are drinking for darker and often more sinister reasons. We, as believers, need to be aware of the ugly struggles many people have when they begin to drink.
- Some are Carrying Lifelong Pain. There is a long list of struggles that people carry with them throughout life. An absentee father (or parent), an abusive relative – both physically and emotionally, and sexual abuse, to name a few. Some people are trying to erase the emotions from years of struggle.
- Some are Struggling with Current Issues. Some of the problems are from the past, and many are still present today. I am amazed at the difficulties people have in their private lives, that they have not told a single person. That woman who is so much fun at parties is dying inside because of the way her husband treats her at home. The list is also long and troubling.
- Some are Trying to Escape Their Past Mistakes. These people have issues with failures that were not the result of someone else, but the work of their own hands. I once had a guy who would drink at every opportunity; his current wife called me and told me to come to their home and see it for myself. As I talked with his drunken personality that night, he only talked about one thing. He failed his first marriage, and he was not the dad he wanted to be for his girls because of it. He was carrying an enormous amount of pain from his past mistakes and tried to numb his feelings any way he was able.
- Some are Attempting to Numb Their Emotions. Some people will drink because they are lonely. Others are sad at how life turned out. One woman I know has a marriage that is falling apart, and she attempts to find joy in any way possible. She always looks happy, but it is just a show trying to veil the pain she is feeling.
Please hear me clearly; I hope you have fun this weekend. Also, we need to understand that many of the people around us are looking for something more. They are trying to hide behind the appearance of fun. We need to keep our eyes and ears open for places the gospel can help far more than a drink.