letter to a colleague
I hope you got all settled in at home yesterday after our flight. I know I'm glad to be back!
In reflecting on the trip, I'm realizing I wanted to thank you for asking me about my “one drink a day” rule the other day. Your asking me that question showed an interest in me as a person (which is a kindness you extended). It also got me to thinking about why I’ve chosen to live by that guideline. And in my pondering, I’ve realized I didn’t give you a complete answer. So I thought I'd add a little more to that conversation, if you don’t mind.
My decision to limit myself to one drink a day has to do with the reasons we discussed the other day. But underlying those reasons is my belief in the truth of the Bible. And one of its guidelines has to do with drinking. Specifically, it says, “Don’t be drunk with wine.” While many would interpret that to say, “avoid all alcohol at all times,” I’ve always understood it to mean, “it’s fine to drink, but just don’t lose yourself in it.”
What I wanted to say to you, though, is that the reason I even care what the Bible has to say about my alcohol consumption is because I believe in the God depicted in the Bible, and I want to follow his guidance for my life.
I want to follow that guidance because I believe he’s real—not just a divine force depicted in some ancient document, and not real in some kind of impersonal sense; I’ve experienced him to be real in a very personal sense.
Here’s what I mean: my experience with God is that he’s taken some pretty awful mistakes I’ve made in my life and he’s not just forgiven me for them, but he’s also somehow managed to work my life into something joyous and fulfilling. When I stop and think about it, I remember again that I’m on the receiving end of a pretty amazing gift. And if it weren’t for a God who is actually interested in me as a person, that wouldn’t be the case. So if my experience is accurate, and there is a God who cares about me (and each one of us), I’d be crazy not to make an effort to align my decisions with his wisdom.
So I wanted to thank you for asking such a great question the other day. It prompted me to stop and think about why it is I do the things I do, which is not a bad exercise every once in awhile.
I hope you don’t mind my adding a little more to our conversation. I wouldn’t do it if you hadn’t so kindly shown a genuine interest in the subject.
I’ll look forward to seeing you around campus, and I hope your workdays this week aren’t too crazy.