Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 23:29
"Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has contentions? Who has complaining? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes?"
This begins a section of proverbs in which the evils of addiction are outlined. In that day the major issues of addiction were drink and food. Alcohol was the major addiction problem. But much of the same ideas apply to the addictive substances that we have available today.
Look at how this section starts. It asks a series of questions designed to get us to look at the problems, sorrows, and difficulties of those who take comfort in drink.
Who has all these things in their life? Woe, sorrow, contentions, complaining, wounds for no reason, red eyes? The only answer is the drunk person. The addicted person. One invites all these things into one’s life when one pursues a path of drunkenness. This discussion is crucial in the proverbs because this form of addiction is the number one form of addiction for teens. Scores of young high school and college people throw their lives away because of the party scene. None set out to make a mess of their life. Some didn't know they were more susceptible to the temptation of drunkenness. No one sat down and asked them these questions and made them look at the end results of this party scene and a love of alcohol.
It is important to say, at this point, that addictive behavior is always a self-medicating process to hide from some pain or wound. I do not want to face the wound, so I hide under the medication of the drink, drug, sex, etc. This is a non-winning play. Face the issues in your life; with God's grace you can get through anything. If someone has victimized you, then let others who are safe know and do not let it drive you to drink. There is nothing that you have done or has been done to you that can keep the Savior from loving you. You can face any reality with God and His grace.
Look at what happens to the person who has to have a few beers to get going or they think about wine all the time. I write this to my grandchildren and great-grandchildren who have not even been conceived yet. I know that many of you will be exposed to friends who like to drink, party, and get drunk. Do not fall into that game. You are playing Russian roulette with your lives. There is a cool that comes from walking with God that the world’s games and toys can never give. Walk with God, my children, and I will see you on the other side. Pay attention to what the Bible says to stay away from -- not because God is trying to wreck your life but because He is trying to point you to the best kind of life. I will be waiting for you with Jesus who has your reward for a life well lived for Him.
The message of this proverb was penned over 3,000 years ago, and it is still relevant because it was inspired by God and recorded by the pen of Solomon. Don't miss the message. If you want troubles, difficulties, quarrels, lots to complain about, and people complaining about you, bruises, and scars you have no idea how you received, then get involved with drink. If you want to avoid this -- and you should -- then steer a wide berth around this temptation.
If you are reading this and you have not yet entered the party scene, don't. It seems cool but it doesn't end up where you think it ends up. It ends up exactly where this proverb says: difficulties, deep internal pain (often from broken relationships), fighting and quarrels, whining and griping.
For those of you who are hitting the party scene and drinking heavily, how much of this stuff has appeared in your life? It is coming and it is only going to get worse. Get out and begin building relationships rather than being selfish, looking for the next high to make you forget your problems.
Problems never go away until you face them and change what can be changed. Fix what can be fixed; move past what cannot be changed or fixed. Accept what cannot be changed.
Drink, drugs, illicit sex all offer the hope of forgetting one's problems -- a numbing agent when life gets hard or painful. The trouble is that it makes life harder and increases the trouble in your life.