Recently, I joined with three other adults and we took a trip. One of the things that become apparent right away was that stopping for a meal was not as easy as it used to be.
One is a vegetarian.
Two are gluten-intolerant.
We just couldn't pull up to the rest stop Mickey D's and order whatever sounded tempting. Did you know that McDonald's adds gluten to their fries? Did you know that many restaurants add pancake batter to their omelets?
And since the reason for the trip was a wedding, there was the reception. And the rehearsal dinner. Three of us don't drink alcohol. I've known for a long time that I would probably handle certain social situations better if I did drink. Doing life sober when you are an introvert should get me some extra points, don't you think?
Which brings me to my point.
There once was a time when certain folks understood holiness to be primarily about what folks didn't do. "No, I don't do that."
"No, I don't go there."
"No, I won't be having any of that."
(When I was in college and being introduced to this way of thinking, a girl turned me down for a date by informing me that good Christian girls don't go to the Ringling Bros./Barnum & Bailey Circus. It wasn't the first nor the last time I was turned down, but it certainly was the most unusual.)
The folks that believed holiness was primarily about what you didn't do also believed that this lifestyle would be attractive to those who did those things. That abstinence would encourage folks to ask about the Jesus who was supposedly behind all of this. (Yeah, I know -Jesus went to a wedding and turned water into wine. That requires some of the most creative biblical exegesis imaginable.)
Well, I don't drink. and I still think it is a pretty good choice. I don't consider myself better than those who do drink, but doing life sober - apart from the awkward social situations - is the best choice for me. However, I would suggest that what we don't do is not near as attractive as what we do: things like loving our neighbor as ourself, showing compassion, and turning the other cheek.
You know - like Jesus did.