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What does God think about cannabis? Ask this question to 100 Christians and you will likely hear a litany of answers, ranging from openly affirming to zealously condemning and probably just about everything in between.
With that in mind, let’s explore 10 things to remember when it comes to our views of God and cannabis.
As Genesis 1:29 teaches, God is the creator of all plants and trees and herbs that grow upon the earth. And given the abundance of plant life out there, it’s pretty obvious that God is quite creative. Many different plants have many different properties and serve many different uses, from food to building material to medicine and more. Cannabis, then, is very clearly one of these and like so many other plants, can be used in a variety of ways.
Throughout Genesis 1, the goodness of creation is mentioned 7 times. Which means that everything that exists in the created order is, in one way or another, good. And while human beings can use substances in not-so-good ways, that doesn’t change the goodness of them. Remember, as Genesis 1:28 teaches, humanity, not necessarily God, has dominion over the earth and as such, can act out of accordance with the goodness of creation.
Having dominion over all the created order, humanity must be discerning when it comes to how best to navigate the world. One good piece of advice comes from the New Testament:
Be sober-minded; be watchful. 1 Peter 5:8 ESV
To that end, when it comes to cannabis, what we must ask ourselves prior to using is, “Can I remain sober-minded and still use?” This is something only we can figure out for ourselves.
God loves to heal. Jesus taught us that in many places. One of them being John Chapter 9 where a blind man is suffering, and is deemed sinful because of his ailment. Jesus doesn’t really agree with this assessment and instead of piling on the man for having such a horrible affliction, heals him right in front of everyone. Why is this important when it comes to thinking about cannabis? Because cannabis has healing properties. CBD, an oil produced from cannabis, was recently approved by the FDA to treat seizures, and millions of people are now beginning to realize that CBD is useful to treat a great many other problems like depression, insomnia, anxiety, and more. So, it seems safe to say that if one can find healing from this plant, then God wouldn’t necessarily be against such a thing. In fact, some could go so far as to glorify God by thanking him for providing such a healing herb.
As Jesus teaches in Matthew 15:11,
It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles.
With regards to cannabis, then, our focus shouldn’t be on the fact that some people choose to consume the herb, but on whether or not they are speaking words of love to others. Are they kind? Are they uplifting? And so on.
In Christ there is no condemnation. Paul teaches us that in Romans 8:1. Which means for those in Christ, there is freedom—freedom to be who you are and do what you deem best. Now, that doesn’t mean we should go around sinning all willy-nilly. Of course not! It just means that are primary focus shouldn’t be on what foods people are eating, or what medicines they are taking, or any of that stuff, but on whether we are showing grace to others, loving God and neighbor, and blessing our enemies.
I’m not convinced that the Bible should be the end-all-be-all when it comes to what God is like, but for those who disagree with me, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that the Bible never condemns cannabis. I know, it never condemns other substances that have the propensity to harm people, but if cannabis was so prevalent in the Ancient Near East—and it was—and was as harmful as some suggest it is, then you’d think it would at least be condemned at some point. But it’s not.
Although many scholars aren’t convinced, there is at least some evidence that cannabis was one of the ingredients used in the anointing oil that God gave to Moses on Mt. Sinai. If that is the case, then a fairly obvious conclusion is that cannabis is a sacred plant, one viewed quite highly, both by God and by the Israelites.
No matter what our personal stance on cannabis is, love is the most important thing in our lives. Hence, it should be the lens through which we view all issues, including cannabis. Which means that if we personally find that it prevents us from loving fully, we should probably avoid it. If it does the opposite, then perhaps it’s okay. And you’ll know what’s what when you meditate on whether more or less love is involved in your life.
Jesus warns us against judging. A lot. Matthew 7 initially comes to mind. And so, when it comes to cannabis, we need to be very slow to judge those who partake, as well as those who don’t. Not every substance is for everyone, and it would behoove us to remember that something may be beneficial for another, whilst at the same time being harmful for one’s self. Again, discernment is the key. Discernment and love.
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