It was a normal church event for those involved. In my work I have taken many a group of youth on a trip just like this. The youth group had decided to take a trip to King’s Island and had taken the church bus which was actually a school bus. I can imagine the group having a blast of fun at the amusement park until it was time to come home. The kids on the bus were probably tired, maybe a little cranky; after all it was 11:00 PM by this point. I can imagine that the chaperones on that bus were anxious to get back and be with their families and sleep in their own bed. Sadly for many that would never happen. It wasn’t because their families didn’t want them to be home with them again, it was because they weren’t given the opportunity. At around 11 PM on May 14, 1988 a drunk driver collided with this church bus filled with husbands, wives, children, siblings, friends, relatives. When everything was said and done 24 youth, and 3 adults had tragically passed away. Ten other individuals suffered disfiguring burns, hearts were broken; divorces resulted, a child’s foot had to be amputated, hundreds suffered. It is impossible to tell the contribution to our world that those 24 youth might have made. They might have been doctors who would have saved lives, researchers who could have had the cure for cancer, soldiers to protect our freedom. Instead they didn’t have the chance. Alcohol made sure of that. In the ten years since 9/11 we have had as many people in the state of Kentucky die from alcohol related crashes alone as in 9/11. How tragic life can be. Abe Lincoln said that alcohol has many defenders, but has no defense I believe that his words ring so true. There are several reasons why I will never take a sip of alcohol; I will like to share some of these reasons:
Fact # 1: Alcohol doesn’t glorify God. 1 Corinthians 10:31
I realize that there are other things that you can drink besides alcohol that doesn’t glorify God. There is not one thing that I know about alcohol that glorifies God. In fact, I would venture to say most by-products of alcohol do the exact opposite they deglorify God. Alcohol use is said to be involved in 50% of all murders, accidental deaths, and suicides. It is said to be involved in 33% of all drowning, boating, and aviation deaths. It is involved in 50% of all crimes (drug-rehabs.org). That doesn’t sound like things that glorify God to me.
Fact # 2: Drinking Leads to Drunkenness. Ephesians 5:18, Galatians 5:21, 1 Corinthians 6:10
I don’t think anyone would argue that drunkenness is shown to be sinful by God’s holy word. An individual that never drinks will never have to worry about getting drunk. The point at which an individual gets drunk is different for everyone. The only way to know how much alcohol must be consumed by an individual to get drunk is to actually get drunk. Thus, the only way to be certain that we will not get drunk is to not drink.
Fact # 3: Consequences can be Detrimental
When I was a sophomore in college, I worked as a volunteer firefighter for the city of Henderson, TN. I can remember one morning about 12:15 A.M. I received a page, and was paged out to the Highway 45 in Henderson. I will never forget the devastation that I would see that morning. I can remember seeing smoke coming out of a car that no longer looked like a car. I remember seeing a semi-truck turned over in a ditch, children toys and debris lining the road. I saw a body that no longer had life in it sprawled out in the road. I found out later that the car had been traveling at over 90 miles an hour the wrong way down the highway when it hit the semi-truck. When I was informed of this I thought why in the world would someone do that? I was then told that the teenage boy had been drinking. I will never forget what I saw that morning, I will also never forget the heartache that I felt at around 2:45 A.M. I was getting ready to leave the scene, when a voice started calling out to us. I looked over and a lady and several children were standing at a fence, looking at us with confused and teary eyes. The lady asked if the boy had survived and we didn’t say anything which told her everything that she needed to know, and she burst out in tears crying, “Why?” The boy was related to the woman and children.
In 2007, 14,406 individuals died from alcohol related liver disease. In this same year 23,199 people died from alcohol related instances and this number excludes accidents and homicides (cdc.gov). In the United States 50,000 individuals get alcohol poisoning every week. Over 14 million people in the United States are addicted to alcohol. That statistic averages out to one in every thirteen adult. 65 people die every day on the U.S. Highways because of alcohol. Alcoholics spend on average four times the amount of time in the hospital during a lifetime than a non-alcoholic. The cost of untreated alcohol and drug abuse costs our country over 265 billion dollars every year in law enforcement costs, health care, welfare, and lost productivity. Drunk Drivers cause half of all highway fatalities. Alcohol is a factor in nearly half of all accidents, suicides, and murders (alcohol-information.com). The consequences of alcohol are deadly, and cause so much harm in our country each and every day.
Fact # 4: Alcohol is Addictive. 1 Corinthians 6:12
It is said that more individuals are addicted to alcohol than any other substance. Yet Paul tells us that he will not be enslaved by anything. When we are dealing with a substance as addictive as alcohol, it cannot be guaranteed when the first sip is taken that we will not become addicted. We cannot guarantee that if we drink alcohol our influence will not cause someone else to drink, become addicted, and have major problems come about as a result of the addiction.
Fact # 5: Alcohol is not beneficial. 1 Corinthians 10:23
Alcohol is not something that builds others up. As this article has shown through the many statistics that have been given, alcohol can cause quite a bit of heartache in the life of those who have abused it. As we ponder this subject, and think about the harm that alcohol can cause, the words of Paul ring loudly in my ears, “All things are lawful, but not all things are helpful. All things are lawful, but not all things build up”. Even if alcohol was allowed by the word of God, which this writer believes that it is not, this principle alone should keep us from using it and supporting it. After all alcohol is a substance that tears lives down, not builds them up.
Alcohol made sure the kids in that bus crash, and many other crashes never had the chance to live their lives, history tends to repeat itself if we give it the chance. Let us do all that we can to stop alcohol and its deadly path. “Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.” (Proverbs 20:1).