I write for Got Questions and the following question was asked by a Christian mother worried about what impact attending a family event would have on her 15 year old daugther. This was my answer:
In high probability there will be alcoholic beverages at this event based upon the wording of the invitation. Your convictions against drinking are commendable. However, I would urge you to consider attending for a short while. Certainly, you don’t have to stay until midnight and watch people possibly get intoxicated. But, it sounds as if your relationship with your niece is important. The fact that many of them made professions of faith as children is an indication that they are open to the gospel. They may not have actually been born again if there is not much evidence of a changed life. Only God knows for sure.
But, your presence at this event will refresh some relationships with family and possibly open the door for further witnessing. Jesus was often criticized for the company that he kept. In fact, in Matt 7:19 (NIV) Jesus was accused of being a glutton and a drunk. We find in Scripture that Jesus dined with Pharisees and tax collectors. That is not to say that Jesus ‘hung out with the boys’ and partook in their partying. But, He went where people needed Him. He sat with the woman at the well and the encounter changed her life. Certainly, we are called to come out and be separate in our lifestyle as Paul admonishes us in II Cor 6:17 (NIV). But, clearly we are not to isolate ourselves to the point we aren’t effectively able to share our faith with family members.
I urge you to attend. Beginning the night before, I suggest you and your husband pray that God will give you eyes to see what he is doing and that He would give you an opportunity to be a witness specifically at the event. As you are traveling to the event, I would discuss with your daughter that you won’t be staying too long and why. Use it as an opportunity to discuss your convictions about alcohol. Talk to her about peer pressure and the importance of not caving in because someone she admires may have a drink in her hand.
At the age of 15, this is a great opportunity to use the event as a teaching point in her life. If she were a young child I might have a different opinion on whether you should go. But, at this point in her life she is on the cusp of being an adult and making decisions on her own. Your influence and use of ‘teaching moments’ will go a long way in making her transition to adulthood smooth and keep her sound in the faith. You might also consider speaking to her about the situation of the niece living with her boyfriend without being married. I will pray the Lord strengthens and guides you regarding this issue.