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So, you’re thinking about using cannabis, eh? But you’re also a Christian, and as we know, Christians don’t do those kinds of things.
Guess what, though? Some do. In the same way that some Christians drink alcohol and some don’t, some Christians use cannabis and some don’t.
How can this be? You may be asking. Well, it’s all about how we interpret our faith—the Bible, Jesus Christ, and everything else that influences our system of belief.
You see, when it comes to so many different issues, the Bible is mixed. Alcohol, for instance, is, on the one hand, championed: Jesus’ first miracle is turning water to wine at the wedding at Cana (John 2:1–11), the Eucharistic meal involves red wine, and strong drink is given to folks who are suffering all throughout the Old Testament.
However, on the other hand, the Bible also warns against drunkenness (Galatians 5:21) and advises that we are to remain “sober-minded” (1 Peter 5:8).
So, it seems that how we apply these teachings to our own lives depends on our own personal situations. The same goes for cannabis.
One passage that can help us greatly comes from the Apostle Paul. In his first letter to the Corinthians, he writes:
All things are lawful for me,’ but not all things are beneficial. ‘All things are lawful for me,’ but I will not be dominated by anything. 1 Corinthians 6:12
For Paul, to be “in Christ” was to live in absolute freedom—freedom from the law, freedom from death and decay, and so on. With this freedom came responsibility, of course, but our behaviors weren’t supposed to be governed by laws and edicts, but by an ethic of other-centered love. This is why, in spite of “all things” being lawful, we are not to be dominated by anything. When we are dominated by something, we are not living a life oriented toward agape – or self-giving – love.
To that end, if alcohol dominates your life, don’t use it. In the same way, if cannabis dominates your life, don’t use it. If neither have that affect on you, then it is lawful, perhaps even beneficial.
Especially in the case of CBD, the healing oil that is created using cannabis but doesn’t contain any intoxicating substances.
Most recently, the FDA approved a drug that contains CBD for the very first time in history, for the treatment of seizures. This may be the beginning of something revolutionary in the field of medicine, as more research on the positive effects of cannabis continue to show promising results.
Thousands of people who suffer from epilepsy, anxiety, insomnia, depression and many other issues have found CBD to be extremely beneficial, without any significant side effects or intoxication.
So, the medical realm certainly has started to change its perspective on cannabis. But what about the Scriptures? What do we learn from them about whether or not we should use cannabis-related medicines like CBD?
Well, Jesus seems to have an interesting view we should consider when he teaches:
It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles . . . Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth enters the stomach, and goes out into the sewer? But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles. For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile. Matthew 15:11, 17–20
Like Paul, what Jesus is teaching here is that regardless of what the law says, living by every perceived jot and tittle of it is to miss the point. It’s the spirit of it all that matters. So, it’s important to ask: What does your life look like when it comes to how you treat others? What sort of fruit are you bearing? Are you sowing and reaping kindness, grace, mercy, forgiveness, compassion, and self-control, or, on the contrary, malice, anger, resentment, dissentions, and judgment? These are the key questions to ask.
All this being said, it is always advisable to remember that our bodies are temples and need to be treated with utmost respect. Paul reminds us of this in 1 Corinthians 6:19:
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own?
In other words, what we as Christians need to realize is that the Holy Spirit makes her home within us, and as such, we need to treat our bodies with respect. We need to refrain from the things that cause us to be dominated so that we can, again, let the Holy Spirit freely move through us for the benefit of others. So, ask yourself: Can this happen if I’m using cannabis? If so, then great! All things are lawful. If not, then stop. Not all things are beneficial.
Now, please remember this: our freedom in Christ doesn’t give us credence to do what we want, when we want. We must have respect for our brothers and sisters who are not at the same place as us on the matter. As Paul reminds us:
Let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding. Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for you to make others fall by what you eat; it is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that makes your brother or sister stumble. The faith that you have, have as your own conviction before God. Blessed are those who have no reason to condemn themselves because of what they approve. Romans 14:19–22
What Paul is saying here is that, while all food is clean, and while those who do not condemn themselves for what they eat or drink [or use] are blessed, we should still have respect for those who disagree and thus keep our practices between ourselves and God. We don’t want others to stumble and always want to remain in peace with our brothers and sisters in Christ, so this seems like wise council.
Be at peace with one another. Respect each other. And always lift others up.
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