Friday, January 18, 2013

Is smoking okay?

Selective Morality  

I knew a man who was fired from his job at a Christian high school because one of the church elders saw him purchasing cigarettes at the local grocery store. They canned him, even though he was the best teacher they had. Now, first off, the Bible does not prohibit smoking. But this has become a favorite of the technical morality police in certain churches. What is even more diabolical about the story is the pleasure these Pharisees had in firing the young teacher. Their judgment was swift and severe; their self-righteous smugness was far sicker than this guy smoking a cigarette. Jesus calls this straining gnats but swallowing camels (Matthew 23:23-24).
The poison of technical rule-keeping is that it shifts the focus from serious issues to ridiculous peccadilloes, thus allowing the legalist to live what he believes is a “righteous life” when in fact he is failing at the very things God majors in. Take as an example a man who hates his wife; he resents her. But he has never committed adultery; he is “faithful” to her. He prides himself on his selective morality—keeping the letter of the law while ignoring massive problems in his heart. Is this holiness?
Ask yourself what it would take for a person to get fired from your church, your Christian school or ministry. What is your church’s understanding of holiness? What are the categories they are thinking in? It is a very revealing test. The scriptures say that the way you treat people is a little more important than whether you smoke, for heaven’s sake. Pride and arrogance are far more serious issues than swearing; idolatry and hatred are far more serious than how fast you drive.


  1. Oh wow and they wonder why people or the unsaved flee away from the church. Look at the image they put out there, that's horrible. Instead of firing him, why not pray that God take the taste for cigarettes out of his mouth and that he be delivered from nicotine. Is he not worthy of prayer because of his mild habit, yes smoking is bad for a person health wise but it doesn't affect whats in their heart or their soul. I have an aunt who is a Christian and she smoke for about 15 years (I think) and she truly loved the Lord. Praise God, that she has been delivered from smoking for quite a while now. So instead of bashing someone, pray for them. Be blessed.

  2. Love this question - "What is your church’s understanding of holiness?" Maybe we should periodically ask ourselves the same question, with Bible in hand and a healthy dose of humility.

    Great blog, btw. Your words are blessing my socks off today. Authenticity bridges the gaps and directs our focus to where it should be--heavenward.