Ephesians 6:1-4 - Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Have you ever provoked your children? Provoked is a word that is not common in today’s lexicon. So, what does it mean? Provoking your children to anger means that you have disciplined your child in a way that is excessive or severe, that you’ve placed unreasonably harsh demands on your children, maybe you’ve abused your authority, or maybe you’re being unfair or arbitrary, or constantly nagging or condemning your children to the point of humiliation.
Clearly provoking your children to anger is not loving, patient, or kind. We should treat children with respect and dignity and valuable as any creation by God.
In traditional homes, fathers often have the primary responsibility for disciplinary actions. They have a unique role in that they need to strike a balance between proper discipline, to demonstrate authority in the household yet be gentle and be loving. Neither the over-encouraging parent who neglects to discipline his child nor the strict disciplinarian fulfills the biblical ideal of parenting. It may seem that fathers have no margin for error. They must be powerful yet gentle. They must be the disciplinarian yet loving and nurturing. They must be authoritarian yet understanding. In that dichotomy, father’s will make mistakes, yet even in that moment of provocation there is incredible power in the asking of forgiveness as a father. It is in that moment of asking of forgiveness where you can become a father of mercy and forgiveness.
• Have you ever provoked your children or another individual? Spouse? Co-worker? Friend?
• In that moment, what was your heart motivation?
• Action - Spend some time in prayer praising God for creating all people in his image and loving them for exactly who there are (in Jesus).