For the past few days I’ve looked at what dad’s leave behind for their children in the way of inherent sin and the Way to handle it.
I want to continue along that thought again today.
Paul instructs both the Colossians and the Ephesians with almost the same words – Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord. Eph 6:4
Nearly every translation I have uses the word “provoke” with a few using “exasperate”.
How does a man provoke his children? I think with harshness and cruelty. Children need one thing above all other needs – love.
I remember hearing Dr. James Dobson saying that if you punish a child, you must also love on the child. You must sit down and reassure that child that you love him/her and talk about the reason they were punished.
I’ve always tried to do that with my children.
But that isn’t enough.
Children should be taught about God. They need to know they are sinful and there is a punishment from God. They need to know that the Father loves them and gave His own Son to save them.
Children need to know about the Holy Spirit and how He will come and live within.
Someone has failed. Look at society. Many children are rude, unloving, unmerciful, hateful, foul-mouthed, and show a full lack of discipline.
Somebody failed because many parents are the same way.
I was taken to church but my memory contains no images of my dad with me. It contains very few of my mother. It was my aunt that picked me up and carried me to Sunday school and church.
My grandfather Swanson died before I was born but grandma went to church very faithfully. It is strange that many of her children did not. Many of them ended up becoming alcoholics.
I don’t remember my mother’s parents going to church. Grandpa did not accept Jesus as his Savior until later in life.
My own family is not the perfect picture of a Christian family, despite the fact that I was a Christian when I got married and when we had children.
I heard someone say this recently and it really hit home with me – I raised my children in church but I did not raise them in Christ.
Ouch! That hit hard.
No matter how well you may raise your children in the “discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord” it will be up to each child to receive Jesus as Savior and continue in that discipline.
You cannot live a Christian life for them. You can only live one in front of them and it must be genuine.
Your love must be representative of the love of the Father!