Parenting is hard. There is no point, however, that we stop raising our children. Even as they leave the home we still have much influence. We send them both good and bad parenting messages by our interaction with them and those around us. Recently I attended a Sunday morning service at The Church at Severn Run with a friend of mine who is actively involved in Alcoholics Anonymous. We later had the opportunity to talk about Pastor Drew Shofner’s message.  Pastor Drew’s message really resonated with him as a Christian.  While AA is non-denominational, my friend takes great comfort in his faith in God and his personal relationship with Jesus Christ.One part of message was about not having anger in the home, that a man’s family, should be spared from his anger.  As part of my friend’s recovery from alcoholism, he practices the a 12-step program which includes step 10.  In describing step 10, the “big book of AA” as its members fondly refer to it, suggests that the recovering AA members “continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment and fear…when these crop up we ask God at once to remove them”.  This is a practice and principle that is sourced from what I call “the big big book” or the book more commonly know at the Bible. Verses that support these actions include: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.” Philippians 2:3″There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” 1 John 4:18aMy friend practices the AA principles to the best of his ability in all his affairs.  He is, of course, human too.  He related recently that he grew quite resentful toward a couple of his adult children while away on vacation, which ended in an angry outburst toward his youngest daughter.  As was pointed out in the message anger is an outcome of an attempt to control a situation. My friend had fallen into this trap. He had grown angry toward his daughter, as he was trying to control her behavior and her resistance lead to an angry outburst.  He had failed to seek God in his moment of frustration, fear and resentment and instead acted out his fear and efforts at control.  He harmed his relationship with his daughter through his shaming behavior.  One of the points of the message that morning my friend greatly related to is that he is obliged to live a life of kindness, patience, tolerance and love. This is an AA principle which is first found in  the Bible. 1 Corinthians 13, the Love Chapter, speaks to this life principle in verses 4-7: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.“My friend always wants to be sure his behavior reflects these principles, as he may be the only AA member or Christian someone knows. He wants those people as well as his children to see these Christ-like qualities in him. They too may struggle with alcohol use or other life challenges. When they do, he wants to be sure his behavior reflects these qualities so they will be willing to seek his help.  The message talked about love also.  When you live Jesus, you live love. The Bible is full of verses to guide us in loving others. These are just a few examples:“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” John 15:12 “Do everything in love.” Corinthians 16:14As my friend reflected on the anger he expressed to his daughter, he realized that in this one instance of anger his behavior failed to “draw his daughter toward Jesus” as is to be our goal in leading others Jesus.  For my friend things ended well.  He sought God’s presence and prayed for forgiveness for his behavior and strength to help him speak to his daughter. He trusted that God’s will would be done.  He then made a heartfelt amends to his daughter the following morning, in a loving way.  Finally he called another close friend and related his experience to him as well.  He did all he could do in that moment to repair the damage he had caused.  My friend’s experience demonstrated the very message of seeking Jesus in all things, good or bad, positive or negative, happy or sad, as he placed trust in God’s plan as laid out in Jeremiah 29:11: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”My friend understands the he does not know what is good or bad, but by his unconditional faith in Jesus, he continues to express thanks and takes peace in all things, knowing they are part of God’s plan.JW]]>