HOUSMAIL HM#079 - RANDOM THOUGHTS ABOUT SMOKING                                                      23 July 2001

HOUSMAIL No 78 (about smoking) produced some encouraging favorable responses -- as well as the inevitable negative reactions about "legalism".

It is certainly true that Jesus did not make a "LAW" which specifically mentions smoking! So this is NOT written to argue the "Christian legality" of smoking! (Or of any other addiction for that matter!) But it is about the "fine tuning" of the CONSCIENCE of disciples, eager to find ways to express their FREE WILL love for Jesus (John 14:15) and who want to make it easier for God to "make His home with us"! (John 14:23)

If you want to argue THAT at all, may I suggest that you take it up privately with Jesus, FIRST CHANCE YOU GET! Of course you may have to wait to hear a trumpet wake you from sleep which seemed to last only "a moment, a twinkling of an eye", (1 Cor 15:52) before the opportunity arises. And there is no scripture that guarantees it, even then!

The HOUSMAIL article was written for some of those with uneasy consciences, who didn't want to wait that long for some answers to pray about!

As a follow up, I thought some of you might be interested in the following collection of random thoughts about smoking, which have accumulated over the years. You may have encountered them before -- none of them is original. But it might be useful to some, if we give them another airing at this time.

In Australia, smoking is banned on public transport. You can see who the smokers are as the journey is ending. At the journey's end, the tensions begin to build. Before the train stops, the cigarettes are out, and so is the lighter -- ready for that first tension relieving puff, the moment they leave. Some of them are so impatient to save a precious second or two, that they have developed a technique for lighting up in mid air, between the train and the platform, as they step off! Such are the "pressures" of nicotine addiction!

Strange isn't it? In Australia, smoking is now banned in many public and private buildings. But no such legislation ever had to be enacted for Churches! When I was child, long before the rising tide of public opinion forced the legislators to impose restrictions, people simply didn't ever do it! They "just knew" they shouldn't. But you can tell who the smokers are! You see them outside in the Church car park, having that last puff before they enter the building -- or the first one after the service. But in Church? No Sir!!! It is unthinkable!

Why is that, do you think? Why is it that people seem to know instinctively that you simply don't smoke inside a Church? And why is it OK outside, but not inside?

"Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I therefore take the members of Christ and make him smoke? Never!" (1 Cor 6:15 Adapted)

In Australia, in polite smoking circles it is the custom, before taking one yourself, to offer the pack around to others present. "Would you like one of mine?" If you stop to remember that GOD is present as a silent observer (he always is!) would you offer Him one too?


"We are the temple of the living God." (2 Cor 6:16)


Whatever WE do, God does! -- Assuming of course, that he stays around to participate! (which, for many things, I seriously doubt. And my personal list of those many things, certainly includes smoking!)

Where do we draw the line between "TEMPLE ACTIVITIES" in which God takes delight, and others which defile and destroy the house in which He wants to live FOR EVER?

"God would you like to share cigarette number 47 today -- or a cigar, for a change? Or can you wait a little while, until I get this pipe cleaned and working again?"

"Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? If any one destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and that temple you are." (1 Cor 3:16-17)

It isn't necessary to repeat here all the warnings from recent scientific studies. We all know, don't we? -- About cancer of the lungs, mouth, tongue etc -- Or about emphysemia, and other respiratory problems -- or about what it does to the taste buds -- etc. etc. If these things are not what it means to "destroy the temple of God", then what are they?

Have you ever experienced the distress of poverty stricken parents while they BEG for money to buy food or clothes for their kids? Inevitably, if they are heavy smokers, (as they so often are) they have to light up to ease the tension caused by their embarrassment about their need to beg.

And have you ever experienced the average reaction when it is suggested that if they weren't spending so much money on tobacco, their kids wouldn't be in quite so much desperate need?

I suppose that, on the day of judgement, the tension amongst the unseparated goats is going to start to build. Of course the nicotine addicts have the answer for that! A quick puff should do the trick! As they stand awaiting the arrival of the judge, and unsure of their fate, are they going to start patting their pockets for their 40 pack of "pacifiers"? And if perchance they do find a packet in their pocket, will they light up while they wait for Jesus to arrive? Will they politely ask the permission of the others standing near them? If Jesus arrives just as they find their cigarette lighter, do you think they might politely ask HIS permission? "Jesus, do you mind if I smoke?" Or, if they are feeling very generous -- "Jesus, would you like one too?"

Finally consider this pearl of wisdom contributed by a sister. -

"Kissing a smoker is like licking an ashtray!"