Today there has been quite a bit of hyperbole going about in some news circles. And not about the US election. Its about Qatar talking about banning alcohol from most places during the World Cup it will host.
Qatar isn’t even talking about a complete ban – there are limited parts of the country where you can purchase alcohol. But the idea that you won’t be able to watch soccer games in a stadium while drinking beer, or drinking in the streets to celebrate afterwards, is causing some reporters to become unhinged. Apparently not allowing alcohol everywhere is “a new low”. And one that will cause severe problems for FIFA and its major sponsors, like Budweiser.
Which tells us all we need to know about the world. Because not allowing people to get drunk when and where they want, in any country they want, and not allowing brewers to make huge profits, is considered to be terrible.
But stoning, flogging, the enforced labour conditions placed on migrant workers, having women only counted legally as half a man, and restriction on free speech and religious practice are not issues that cause people the same sort of concerns. Certainly not in the terms a lack of unfetter access to alcohol does.
Maybe you wonder just what companies, sporting bodies, and individuals are willing to tolerate so long as they can have the good time they desire. Its easy to see when we look at this when it comes to a foreign culture, but what about our own? What are we willing to justify and proclaim ‘good’ in order to have the good time we want? Too often we don’t recognise the cultural tide we are being swept along with, because we are bobbing up and down in it along with everyone else.
Its only Jesus who is going to help you see where the tide is going, and guide you out of it. Jesus who will show you that the goal of our culture is selfish and harmful, but the true goal of the human heart is the love of God. And that the answers Qatar’s system provides isn’t any better – control, force, banning.
Jesus invited all to come to him. To be freed of the burdens, the moral burdens, they are being forced to bear. That burden to justify and approve of anything that lets me have a good time and make money, or that burden to ban and prevent anyone from doing anything wrong.
Jesus offers freedom, and says his burden is light, for all who will come to him.