As I was driving along the highway tonight I observed one billboard painted bright green with the message above scrawled frighteningly across it. “Meth destroys,” just in case you didn’t know. This message brought to you by Governor Phil Bredesen and some other very bright bulbs in the Tennessee legislature, I suppose.
To be humbly honest, I have seen this billboard no small number of times and thought practically nothing of it. But tonight my immediate mental response was something along the lines of, “Well, no kidding!” Duh…methamphetamines certainly destroy brain cells, various inner workings of the human body, relationships, ambitions, and so on. But assuming that this billboard is meant as a deterrent to those who are about to engage in this substance, or those who are already engaging, I cannot believe it will prove very successful in this task. The chief reason it will fail is because I greatly doubt that anyone is turning to meth because they believe it is good for their health! Do those involved in this disgusting stuff really care that it destroys? Isn’t destruction, in some small way, the very thing they desire? Destruction of their loneliness or boredom, destruction of the circumstances they cannot face any longer, even destruction of their own bodies might be their aim in using it. To such a person, the confirmation that “meth destroys” is likely seen as a blessing, and responded to with a wan smile.
How different things might be! What if the billboard instead read something like the following:
“The Almighty God who crafted the heavens, every star and moon, the seas and everything in them, the plants and trees and birds on wing, the mountains large and looming–this same God created also you. Would you then dare to take the body He has formed for you and damage it by unholy instruments? Use of methamphetamines means to reject the good things a gracious God has given you in brains and a body. Meth destroys, and does not honour your Maker. So instead, love your Maker (who loves you as He loves Himself) by living rightly!”
Okay, so it’s a bit long for a billboard, but if this message were commonly reported in other venues, ‘twould be an easy task on the billboard simply to say: “Honour God with your body–don’t do meth.” I guess I just wish we could get to the deeper reality which must necessarily lie behind such pseudo-moral statements as these…