Q: My office is having its annual Christmas party soon, but I’m a recovering alcoholic and I ought to stay away because I know I’ll be tempted to drink (although no one at work knows this). Everyone is expected to go, so pray I’ll do what’s right. — P.F.
A: I strongly urge you not to place yourself in the way of temptations that may be too strong for you to resist. The Bible’s command about harming others applies also to ourselves: “It is better not to … drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall” (Romans 14:21).
From what you say elsewhere in your letter, God has helped you fight your alcoholism — and for that I’m very grateful. But this doesn’t mean you now are strong enough to resist every possible temptation. This is why the Bible urges us to flee from temptations that might be too strong for us to resist. Paul told Timothy to “Flee the evil desires of youth” (2 Timothy 2:22).
Think of it this way. Suppose you contracted a very serious illness, tuberculosis, for example. Once it was discovered, you received the best possible medical care, and in time your doctors pronounced you healed. But would it be wise for you to deliberately expose yourself to tuberculosis once again? I doubt it; your body would still be weak, and you’d be vulnerable to reinfection. The same may well be true of your alcoholism.
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Be candid with your boss; he should respect you for what you’ve been able to accomplish and not look down on you. Then ask God to help you be a witness to those around you of Christ’s love and transforming power. Some may be struggling with the same problems you’ve had, and they need your help.
Write “My Answer,” Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; or visit www.billygraham.org.