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Don’t Condemn Those Who Sin Differently Than You

February 16, 2021

I’m what you would probably call nerd, a square or a goody two shoes.

Don’t drink, don’t smoke, what do you do?
Don’t drink, don’t smoke, what do you do?
Subltle innuendos follow
There must be something inside
– Goody Two Shoes by Adam Ant

I don’t do drugs
I don’t smoke
I don’t drink
I don’t even drink coffee

Part of the reason is religious. My church has a health code. Another part of the reason is health related. Everyone knows that illegal drugs (or perscription drugs that aren’t perscribed for you) are bad for you. There’s no question.

Everyone also agrees that cigerettes are bad for you. Even people who smoke understand that it’s not healthy.

Plenty of people drink without any ill affects. Of course, some drink to excess. Or, they drink and get behind the wheel of a car. But, there are plenty that see nothing wrong with an occasional beer or glass of wine.

Even more people think coffee is acceptable. Most people who choose to not drink coffee find they don’t like the taste, or they don’t like the way it makes them feel. Caffeine affects people in different ways.

In my church, it’s considered a sin to partake of any of the above. Not everyone is as pious. People sin in different ways. Everyone has their own temptations. As you might imagine there’s also a strong social pressure to follow the rules.

Members of my congregation might have issues with me if they saw me coming out of a bar. Even if I didn’t drink.

I once had to buy beer. It was the first and only time I’d ever bought beer. To be clear, buying it is not a sin. Consuming it is. It still felt weird.

I asked a friend a question,

Suppose someone, who was not a member of our church asked you to buy them come coffee? Would you do it?

Yeah, I suppose.

What if they wanted you to buy them some beer?

I’m not sure I could do that.

How about cigerettes?

Definitely not.


Not a chance.

All those things are legal where I live. And all those things are considered a sin by my church. And yet, I would be more comfortable helpting people with some of them than others.

I tried to think of why. If both coffee and cigerettes are considered sins, why would I be willing to buy my non-church member friend one but not the other?

I was working with a group of cabinetmakers in Olympia, Washington. I was a recent returned missionary for my church. I was also low man on the totem pole. My job at the shop was to sweep, and burn the scraps in our burn lot, and run errands.

It was Friday and we’d just finished a big job. We were going to head out to a local park after work.

Rodney, we’re finishing up here. Why don’t you go get the beer and we’ll meet you at the park.

Ah. . .

It’s fine, I’ll give you some money from petty cash. Just save your receipt.

What kind do you want me to buy?

And that’s how I ended up at a 7-11 buying a 24 pack of Budweiser. I definitely felt odd. I don’t even think I got carded. Would I have felt okay buying them coffee? Sure. Cigerettes? I’m honestly not sure.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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(c) 2021 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

  1. Mitzi permalink

    You always have great insight to things. Thank you

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