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What Would Jesus Smoke?

After posting an article on Facebook that discussed the position of the Christian community as it pertains to the growing legalization of marijuana (at the time of this writing; 21 states as well as the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana use in some form - Washington and Colorado have legalized marijuana use in recreational forms) I thought I would go ahead and write some of my thoughts here. After my post blew up on Facebook, I decided it was a much needed topic to discuss. First, this article can help us to understand some of the health issues and risks involved with marijuana smoke inhalation (not other forms of marijuana (THC) consumption). I believe this is an extremely relevant topic (apart from my Facebook evidence) as I have been with many young people (including myself at one time) where this was a real issue in their life, and interacted with their decisions about following Christ, their faith in Him, and their interpretation of the Scriptures. I think, as with most things, we in the Christian community must be careful not to 'over react' when it comes to discussing the topic of marijuana and whether a person of faith can partake in the Mary Jane. Unfortunately quick reactions tend to fall in line with people's already preconceived notions of Christians being closed minded, overly pious and self-righteous, as well as generally out of touch, bigoted and prejudice toward anything that is different from their 'bubble'. I know this is how I viewed Christians before I became one, and unfortunately the few that I encountered gave me enough of a bad taste that I could write them all off as hypocritical. Ironically perhaps, it wasn't until I got to know a Christian more intimately, as well as the Scriptures, that I came to shift my view of Christianity and Christ himself. Years ago I encounerted a young man in the state of California, after they had legalized marijuana for medicinal use, who had a prescription for his 'insomnia' (he later said that getting a prescription was ridiculously easy). He had faith in Christ and was wanting to follow Him but was having a hard time giving up his use of marijuana. After digging and probing into his motives for his marijuana use, and after much prayer, he decided that he needed to let go of his use of marijuana as he concluded that he simply like getting high and was afraid to give up something that he enjoyed so much (which I think was confounded by the fact that he thought he was receiving genuine medical benefits from smoking). While I believe that we must not be quick to over-react in our discussions with genuine truth seekers (Jn 8:31-ff), I also believe (much like the aforementioned article states) that we should lead people to the truth of the Scriptures by getting to the heart and motives of their decisions. Drunkenness is clearly depicted as a sin and something to be avoided in the Scriptures, and I believe that someone getting high from weed (for recreational use) would certainly fall under the category of what I view to be 'drunkenness', I think the conversation changes when discussing the potentially beneficial medical uses of marijuana (in non-smoke form). Again, I would heavily lean toward exposing the roots of someone's motives as to why they want to use marijuana, and compare and contrast what's in a person's heart to the Scriptures to help guide them in their decision making, rather than taking a blanket position. This is going to be (and already is) something that we must be prepared to deal with and have answers for people who are genuinely seeking The Lord. If we are not prepared to help them in meaningful ways and to have genuine dialogue, we could potentially push them farther from the gospel as we fit their expectations of bigoted Christians.


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