Build up…. Don’t Tear Down
Ephesians 6:4 “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and the instruction of the Lord.”
Fathers…mothers…children. These three words bring so many thoughts to mind as soon as they leave our tongues. While we all might have some of these thoughts or emotions in common, there are invariably those that are very different from us. We all come from various upbringings, experiences, and circumstances. There is no single pattern or mold for this, nor any, part of our lives.
I write this as a father myself wanting to raise my children in a God-loving environment, but also one with love, discipline, and guidelines. Second, I write this as a son who was raised in what I have just described and is largely why I feel this way. Finally, I write this from the perspective of seeing people either abide by this scripture in their lives or not.
Please understand I’m not casting stones at anybody here, I am however holding those around me or that I see accountable to the Word of God. I believe all families, however imperfect the situation or circumstance, should listen to the message this scripture presents.
So what does it really mean to not provoke your children? I know that we can all be angry at times, but let it not be directed towards our children, if at all. My thoughts are that we must always respond in love, which is very contrary to our flesh. If all we do is provoke and anger our children we are creating such a sense of discouragement for them. Very simply put: anger breeds anger and hate breeds hate. If we create a sense of anger or hate in our children they could hold onto this for the rest of their lives and never break the pattern. As a parent, family member, friend or otherwise I know there isn’t anyone that wants to see this.
Parenting is not easy. We must all strive to show the love that Christ shows mankind as his own children and magnify that love to our own. It takes patience and understanding in such a way that is so much bigger than us. Only through patience and love will we not discourage or make them bitter. While we do this we must also make sure that we instill a love of the Lord and an understanding environment while showing discipline. The basic explanation of this is balance. We absolutely need to show a Christ centered home, patience, discipline and understanding without resorting to anger. All of this equates to build them up and not tear them down.
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