The Bridge Chicago is a way to offer the resources of Mission:USA to help people do good ministry.
I recently started a new job & already noticed how different I am from my coworkers. They usually invite me out to bars for drinks, but I’m always hesitant. I don’t think there’s anything wrong w/having one drink because my intention isn’t to get drunk. My relationship w/God has grown a lot lately & I’m loving what he’s done. I want to be able to connect & eventually share the love of God no matter the environment. How can I stop from feeling uncomfortable or afraid of being seen as hypocritical?
It’s good that you notice differences between yourself and people who are of the world. It’s also really good that your response to that difference is to want to connect and share with people who don’t know the Lord. It sounds like you are totally on track, but you are letting fear knock you off a bit. Which is something that happens to everyone.
You are right on that there is nothing wrong with drinking. According to the Bible, it is getting drunk that is the problem (Ephesians 5:18) and if you are underage, then drinking illegally is a problem (Romans 13). However, just because it isn’t a sin doesn’t mean that you have to do it. If you have no interest in drinking, then don’t drink. It is not something you have to try, or a sign of maturity or anything. I know people who don’t drink because they don’t care for the taste, because they think it’s ludicrously expensive, or for any number of reasons.
The thing you very well might find if you go to a bar and order a diet coke, or a water, or whatever, is that people don’t care. People get pretty wrapped up in themselves and often don’t worry too much about what other people are doing, especially after a long day at work. Someone might ask why you aren’t drinking and normally a “just not into it” will suffice for normal, decent people. If someone really makes you feel uncomfortable about it, then you can bail on the bar trips and know that you gave it a shot. And if you feel like saying it is because of your beliefs, then that might plant the seeds for conversation down the line.
It seems like the thing that’s making you uncomfortable is the fear of the unknown. Wanting to maybe give this a shot but having misgivings is perfectly natural, especially if you’ve never done anything of the like before. The best way to get rid of that discomfort is to try it. If it works out and you have fun, then great; if you end up not liking it, then you continue not going, but at least you know, no big deal. As for the feeling hypocritical thing, I don’t know how anything you are doing or thinking is hypocritical. You aren’t doing anything wrong, you are just trying to figure some stuff out. That’s not hypocritical and anyone who judges you for that is not someone who’s opinion should care about anyway. Some people just want to find fault in other people, particularly their spiritual life.
Figuring out how to walk as a Christian is tough, especially in worldly environments. There is no rulebook for these gray areas where nothing sinful is going on. You just need to find out what’s right for you and making some false starts and missteps along the way in perfectly fine. That’s how you learn.
-Matt from The Bridge