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The responsible drunkard

June 20, 2016

I know a man who always asks me for money every time we meet. The sad thing is that we meet almost every time in the morning. And he’s always drunk. It’s not the loose-your-mind kind of drunk that is obvious but it is, besides the fact that I can smell the alcohol, the kind that you can only notice if you pay attention to what he is doing. But to be sure, as he doesn’t deny it, he’s always drunk and lives to get drunk.

Most people know, or at least have seen a drunkard. It can be sad (or funny, depending on where you’re standing) to observe someone stripped completely of his rationality because he’s drunk, and watching him act foolishly and unashamedly flaunting his folly to everyone’s face. It is forgivable if it is a onetime thing, but the fact of the matter is reality shows us that a drunkard, even in his right mind, yearns for yet another drink.

But on a more subtle level, drunkenness is not exclusively caused by substances; which is why things like power, sex, reputation, money … can cause a man to lose his mind. Therefore, I can say that someone is drunk with, say, power to mean that power has saturated and intoxicated his mind to the point of impairing his judgement—he cannot think straight because of the power at his disposal, or the power he covets.

If we start thinking of drunkenness in this way, is it not right to think that we’re all drunk with something? Would it be an overstatement if I say that everyone has something of an addictive power which is causing him to lose his mind? Surely, you might not be able to see it just as a drunkard might not know that he is drunk, or people might not be able to tell since they’re just as drunk as yourself. Would this be a plausible explanation on why we’ve become so uncaring, unloving, always fighting each other (as drunkards love to do)?

If we take an example, living in a comfortable house might be your ultimate goal to a point of deafening your ears to the cries of the poor for mercy or to the people in your surrounding in need of your generosity. From a generous person’s point of view, you’re drunk with comfort and you’ve lost your mind to it to the point of losing any consideration whatsoever to your neighbor.

But make no mistake, a drunkard will always be responsible. We might excuse him for breaking things, or being violent or rude or insolent because we know the reason behind the folly. However before the law, the drunkard is held responsible for all domestic violence or reckless driving or any casualties caused by his drunkenness.

Asking a paralytic to stand and walk straight when you’re fully aware that that he’s not capable of such thing would be nonsensical and so asking a drunkard to act responsibly would equally be nonsensical, one would argue. Drunkenness is self-inflicted and therefore, before the law, a drunkard isn’t acquitted nor is he justified; he is condemned.

Likewise, we’ll be held accountable for any strife, jealousy, war, poverty, injustice, immorality, anger, resentment, enmity, rivalries, impurity… caused by our drunkenness (of any kind) before the supreme divine and perfect Judge, just as we’re held responsible in our imperfect and human courts. We’re just and wise enough never to excuse or justify a drunkard’s foolish acts because they were done under the influence of the alcohol, but we demand that the guilty assumes the responsibility of any act he might commit while drunk. Likewise, even if God knows we’re drunk (and the things that make us drunk abound), he still demands obedience to his commandment, holiness and love because He is just and we do not have any excuse.

How have we fallen captive to these addictive behaviors? Even good things, when desired, turn into bad things—that’s how jarring our condition is. It seems we cannot sober up even if we wanted to. That’s the truth. We’ve become callous, beings with hard hearts who live in the futility of their thoughts. We’re darkened in our understanding and our hearts has become deceitful beyond repair. What’s our problem? Sin.

The good news is that our savior, Christ Jesus, has not only come down to remove the penalties of the evil we’ve committed, but he has come to take us from darkness to light, from bondage to freedom, from death to life, life in abundance.

“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”
John 1:29


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