Get High or be Holy?

On October 17, 2018 Canada became only the second country to legalize marijuana for recreational use. Many Christians will lament this day, but others will use it as a reason to starting using marijuana. What should the Christian response be?

I grew up in a house without any alcohol and in a social context where alcohol was considered bad or sinful. I can't say specifically what I was taught by my parents, but that is the overall impression that I had in my younger days. Anecdotally, I would say that this was the predominate understanding of most people in my generation. Since the Bible does not prohibit alcohol the consequence of this understanding was that many young people only evaluated the moral aspect of drinking alcohol instead of the negative consequences of alcohol use and abuse. In other words, once they discovered that it was not morally wrong they began to drink freely.

Although consuming alcohol may not strictly be against God's command we are cautioned to consume it with wisdom.
Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.   
In most Christian circles nowadays alcohol is not considered taboo. Wine with a meal or a beer at a pub will generally not raise any eyebrows. Moderation is the key to wisdom for most Christians. But, what about marijuana?

Before we go any further, I would like to clarify that this discussion is related to marijuana which has a THC component and has no medical purpose. That is not to say that all medical purposes are valid, but it does require more nuance than the current article. Recreational use is what is primarily under consideration. Weed has many similarities with alcohol: It is addictive, it is used to escape reality, it is bad for your body when abused, and can have a negative impact on society. Does that mean it is fine as long as we use it in moderation. Is that what we should teach our children?
Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the LORD is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit. (Eph. 5:17)
This verse clearly shows that we are not to get drunk with wine which is analogous to not getting high on weed. The real problem however is that if we are out of our minds we can't be filled with the Spirit. Anything that prevents us from being filled with the spirit is wrong! It is also helpful if we read what comes immediately before.
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. (Eph. 5:15-16)
The scope of these verses is much larger than drinking wine or smoking pot, rather it is about making the best use of the time. So, is it okay to use marijuana in moderation? I don't even know if this is possible, but if it is, that doesn't make it right because it is still a waste of time. We are clearly being told not to be stupid but to use some common sense and make the most our time. That being said there is also some wisdom to be had here. The consequences of marijuana use are not well known since they don't have a lot of longterm studies because it has been illegal. With all of the mental health issues we currently have, we should all be aware of the power of drugs on our brain. Taking substances that mess with your brain in a way that distorts reality is not a good idea regardless of the morality of it.

You don't have to get drunk or get high to waste your time. There will be many who Christians rightly judge people who consume marijuana, but we also need to consider everything else we do with regards to making the best use of our time and being filled with the Spirit. What are you wasting time on? 


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