Going to Pot. A Sober Reflection on 4/20
Make way! Here comes the fun-police.
4/20 is upon us. The day when you either avoid downtown like the plague or flock there to get lost and lit in the annual fog collectively puffed by thousands.
Christians are not fans of 4/20. We are generally not big on narcotics. A real pin I actually saw at a Christian rally in my youth read, “There’s No High like the Most High”. My sister bought it for me. I wore it.
Why are Christians anti-weed?
Is it time for us to get lifted from our grumpy, grounded views?
Christians are often labelled for what we are against. Anti-abortion. Anti-homosexuality. Anti-euthanasia. Anti-weed. (Anti-21st century?) But being labelled not for what you are against, but instead what you are for makes for a much more compelling campaign. (Just ask the Pro-Life movement, or Complimentarians).
Christians are not anti-weed as an end unto itself, we are instead pro-person.
Our faith holds perhaps a loftier view of the human body and person than any other.
Our ultimate authority, the Bible, which we call “The Word of God”, states on the very first page that all humans, male and female, are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26). That means we are created as persons designed to resemble God; to reflect Him. People ought to look at us and see in miniature, a representation of the Good God who created us and everything else.
We as human persons are the pinnacle of God’s creation. His masterpiece.
That’s a high calling.
The Bible constantly affirms the sacredness of human life. The goodness and even holiness of the human body. The importance of preserving that body and keeping it healthy.
Now, unfortunately the idyllic vision of Creation is ruined two pages later, when in Genesis 3 humans reject God and decide to live for themselves, allowing sin and death to enter and dominate our collective experience.
We were made to reflect God, but have rejected God and in so doing our reflection of Him is now clouded, mired, stained.
But, regardless of our sinful state, human life is still to be celebrated as a profound, good gift, and one that should be protected.
What does this have to do with marijuana?
Narcotics cloud judgment. They fool our bodies into thinking a certain way. They make us feel good by blocking neuropathic pain receptors and opening sensory receptors in the brain. They powerfully alter our brain chemistry to reduce pain and negative feelings and replace them with feelings of peace, excitement and separation from reality. We feel a high, because all the lows have been temporarily forgotten. They fool us into thinking we are happy, and so for a short time we truly are.
This sounds awesome! But there is a cost.
Narcotics are dangerous. They mess up our biological equilibrium and can be detrimental to health. They retard the brain. They are addictive. The high feels less high the more we experience it, requiring more intense narcotics to return to the initial good feelings we experienced. It is a slippery slope, and countless people have fallen down it unawares.
Narcotics make us lose our inhibiting will. They disrupt short-term memory, eliminate the feeling of neurologically-based pain, and intoxicate us. Under the influence of narcotics, we are less likely to say, “No” and more likely to say, “Yes”, no matter who is asking or what they want.
And here is where the Christian must draw the line.
Because we so value human life, that we stand against anything that threatens or harms the flourishing of a person’s body, mind, or well-being. We need to always be sober-minded to say, “Yes” to what is good and reject what is bad. Even if that means we never experience a drug-induced high.
Narcotics can lead people into situations that are fundamentally detrimental to the flourishing of human life. Crime, mental health illness, broken relationships, poverty, addiction and death are always nearby when drugs are present.
And so, on 4/20, my sober reflection is this: don’t.
If you want to experience a high - if you want the pain in your life to subside - smoking a joint will not ultimately fix your problems. They are far deeper than that.
Life to the Full
When Jesus came to earth he simply stated, “I have come so that you may have life, and have it to the full!” (John 10:10). Experiencing full life comes through Christ, not through cannabis. Know Him and you will know your value, and also the price with which God was willing to pay to bring you to a place of flourishing, not pain.
Weed offers a momentary buzz; Jesus offers eternal life. Weed makes us forget our problems momentarily; Christ fixes our brokenness and fills our emptiness.
On 4/20 experience life to the full.