Recently I saw an ad for Cigarettes. The headline was “Break Free” which seemed ironic to me. I don’t have a problem with that phrase or the 78 Christian books that use it in the subtitle, it’s just that I’m not sure it fits for a cigarette. I mean after all, cigarettes are addictive. There’s nothing “break free” about smoking. It’s more “Get tangled” or “Get enslaved,” although I suppose those headlines wouldn’t move many cartons. But as a Christian, in addition to mocking cigarette ads, what’s our opinion supposed to be on the whole idea of smoking?
It was so much easier in college. There was absolutely no debate about whether or not God was OK with smoking cigarettes. There were only a handful of smokers at my small Baptist school and everyone knew who they were and where they’d be. Unlike Motley Crue, they rarely smoked in the boy’s room, but instead chose to light up outside of the mailroom at Samford University. Smokers, how dare they!
But then things got a little fuzzier after college. You met Christians who smoked, people who professed the name of Christ while enjoying the smooth menthol flavor of a Kool or the life affirming, you’ve come a long way baby thinness of a Virginia Slim. And then on top of that, friends chewed tobacco. Right there in front of you, with a spit cup and a brown gooey mess of mucus.
So what to do? What to do? Best case scenario is to probably go ahead and judge them, a move that is only amplified if you can do it while overeating. Seriously, if you can say something like, “Cigarettes are sinful because you’re abusing your body, which is the temple of God,” while enjoying a 57 layer burrito from Larry’s Taco Shack, that would be pretty good.
And don’t you throw the g word back at me. Don’t you use the word all good potluck lunch eatin’, sausage gravy pourin’ on any object Christians enjoy. You know the one I’m talking about, gluttony. Sure, my wife literally said to me the other day, “Are your pants fitting right?” because the button of my jeans could pop off and kill someone right now since I put on 15 pounds over the holidays primarily from Salt & Vinegar chips but that’s beside the point. This is about smokers. Keep me out of this. I’ll break a crock pot over your back if you come close to getting me to discuss gluttony.
Smoking, should Christians do it?