I am saddened and perplexed every time I read a social media post by conservative Christians advocating for the legalization of marijuana. The general reason, I learn, is that it’s not the government’s job to tell us what we can and can’t do with our bodies. It’s a plant. You can’t regulate plants. It’s not a dangerous drug. It’s not addictive. Marijuana users don’t hurt anyone when they use it. It’s the victimless drug. It’s a victimless crime.
I beg to differ, based on my early childhood years with parents who smoked it. I beg to differ, based on my first marriage with a husband who could not function without it. Victimless?? Um, not by a long shot.
But I’m not even going to go there with this article.
No, I’m asking a totally different question.
Warning: toes will be stepped on. Friends may be offended. For that I am sorry.
Why are conservative Christians advocating for the use of anything that takes the place of a life dependent on Jesus?
Why, when we know the One who carries our burdens, would we spend our time politically advocating for another means to peace? Is freedom of choice above the peace of God?
If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. 1 Peter 4:11
You see, marijuana (and alcohol and chocolate and sugar) give us a temporary feeling that everything’s going to be okay. They lull us out of our worries or fears or anxieties or depression or overwhelmed feelings for a short time. They give us a false (and temporary) feeling of calm.
But the issues that cause the fear and anxiety and depression and overwhelm will remain. And if we treat ourselves (or encourages others to) with substances, we haven’t learned how to handle those issues. We’ve only masked them for a time.
So, what does the Bible say about this?
Oh, marijuana isn’t in the Bible. And yep, Jesus drank wine. Chocolate isn’t mentioned, either. But God does have a few things to say about worry, anxiety, fear, depression, and overwhelm:
Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. – 1 Peter 4:12-13
It appears suffering is a normal part of life, and that we are to rejoice in being called to suffer.
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. – 1 Peter 5:8-10
We are to be sober and vigilant, not lulled into a sense of calm. And there’s a light at the end of that suffering tunnel. “After you have suffered a while, may God perfect, establish, and settle you.”
…casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. – 1 Peter 5:7
We are to cast our cares on our Lord, and not seek to bury them under a comfortable feeling of false calm.
…we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Romans 5:3-4
Tribulation produces perseverance. Perseverance produces character. Character produces hope.
What does a dependence on substances produce? Last I checked, it didn’t produce perseverance, or character, or hope.
“God welcomes our lament to help us hold on to him. He knows that our tendency is either to pretend everything is okay (while we suffocate on the inside) or to walk away from God, believing he doesn’t care. Lamenting keeps us engaged with God. When we lament, we invite God into our pain so that we can know his comfort, and others can see that our faith is real. –Vaneetha Rendall Risner
I’m not trying to be preachy here. I’m not trying to define sin or law or grace. I’m honestly wondering what kind of society are we living in when Christians advocate a dependence on substances instead of a desperate dependence on God? The kind of desperate faith that has nowhere to turn but God produces a faith like most of us would not recognize in our first-world society.
Suffering of any kind is a gateway to a deeper relationship with Jesus. Suffering, misery, stress, fear, anxiety…all of these drive us to something. Imagine if they drove us to a deeper, stronger prayer life. Imagine what world-changers we would be.
But if we’re advocating for a doobie or a glass of wine, we certainly aren’t changing the world. We aren’t casting our cares on God, and we’re not spreading the Godspel. We have no positive influence on those around us, but we will very likely have a negative impact on our friends, family, and the world at large.
I challenge you: would you give up the political lobbying for substance dependence, and instead share with one more person that God is their help and strength… a very present help in trouble?
Jesus gave us the prescription for all that stresses us out:
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. – Matthew 11:28-29
Elisabeth Elliot shared this wisdom in her book Keep a Quiet Heart:
“In Jesus last discourse with His disciples before He was crucified (a discourse meant for us as well as them), He explained that God is the gardener, He Himself is the vine, and we are the branches. If we are bearing fruit, then we must be pruned. This is a painful process. Jesus knew that His disciples would face much suffering. He showed them, in this beautiful metaphor, that it was not for nothing. Only the well-pruned vine bears the best fruit. They could take comfort in knowing that the pruning proved they were neither barren nor withered, for in that case they would simply be burned up in the brush pile.”
So instead of lobbying for the legalization of marijuana, let’s look at ourselves and ask if we are willing to suffer through some uncomfortable days, or weeks, or even more? Are we willing to glory in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance, character, and hope? Will we share this hope with the world around us, or will we help pass laws for more access to substances that only calm us temporarily, and often lead people into further harm and misery?
Can we leave government to just a few important things, and let the scriptures be our guide to political activism?
“Religion is of general and public concern, and on its support depend, in great measure, the peace and good order of government, the safety and happiness of the people.” – Samuel Chase, United States Supreme Court Justice
Nicki Truesdell is a 2nd-generation homeschooler and mother to 5. She is a homemaker at heart, and loves books, freedom, history and quilts, and blogs about all of these at nickitruesdell.com. She believes that homeschooling can be relaxed and that history is fun, and both can be done with minimal cost or stress, no matter your family’s circumstances. Nicki is a member of the Texas Home Educators Advisory Board. She also teaches ESL online from home. You can follow her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.