Mark and Shelly Nelson, authors
They are always watching. Not “Big Brother,” but the younger, impressionable people in our lives. You may have heard it said, “your actions speak louder than words” or “I can’t hear what you’re saying because your actions speak so loudly.”
We’re wrestling this week to gain wisdom when it comes to alcohol. You can decide what works for you, but how do you influence others, particularly your own children?
- What influenced my attitudes toward alcohol?
- How are my attitudes and actions regarding alcohol impacting others? Do I come off self-righteous or create curiosity? Am I setting an example? Providing guidance?
- Is what I’ve decided that works in my life what will also work best for others?
The sayings of King Lemuel—an inspired utterance his mother taught him.
2 Listen, my son! Listen, son of my womb!
Listen, my son, the answer to my prayers!
3 Do not spend your strength on women,
your vigor on those who ruin kings.
4 It is not for kings, Lemuel—
it is not for kings to drink wine,
not for rulers to crave beer,
5 lest they drink and forget what has been decreed,
and deprive all the oppressed of their rights.
6 Let beer be for those who are perishing,
wine for those who are in anguish!
7 Let them drink and forget their poverty
and remember their misery no more.
8 Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
for the rights of all who are destitute.
9 Speak up and judge fairly;
defend the rights of the poor and needy.
Today, find a quiet place to have a conversation with God. Pull up an empty chair or take a walk outside. People seem to have earbuds in “talking to themselves” all the time. You won’t look weird! At least we promise not to laugh.
- Talk to God about alcohol as if you were talking to a friend. Tell God what you learned as you were growing up. Explain why you feel the way you do about drinking.
- Ask him for wisdom, for how you should guide anyone else who looks up to you, specifically your children.
- Then be silent. Listen. Silence is a posture of our hearts that says, “I’m done thinking; I have all the answers.” Be aware of scripture that comes to mind and read it aloud as if you’re hearing the other side of your conversation.
Read what others say
From Dr. Gary Collins:
“Parental example is the most influential factor in determining whether or not children will develop chemical dependency. When parents regularly rely on drugs and alcohol, children learn to do the same. When parents rigidly prohibit and condemn the use of chemical substances, children often react by partaking of this ‘forbidden fruit.’”
“More effective is an open attitude about drugs and alcohol, a recognition of their dangers, an encouragement of moderation if not abstinence, and an example of parents who enjoy life without having to rely on drugs to meet problems or to enjoy fellowship with others.”
Explore on your own
Some recent studies have noted some troubling trends in the drinking habits of Americans. This short article from the news site Axios includes some recent data.
Talk about it
- Who/what was the biggest influence in your life regarding how you handle alcohol? Why did you choose to be open to that influence?
- What guidance did you receive from your parents about drinking? How does that impact your decisions now?
In whose lives do you have the greatest influence? How is your attitude/approach to alcohol helping them grow in wisdom to handle this topic in their lives?
 Gary R. Collins, Ph.D., Christian Counseling: A Comprehensive Guide (Waco, TX:Word, Inc., 1980), 392.