Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged. Colossians 3:21
This is something I have been thinking upon recently, and I am quite sure provocation of our dear children can be applicable to Mothers also. I think it may also apply to fellow believers and/or church members who are in contact with and talk to our children.
To look back upon our lives, particularly as parents, and realise that we sowed seeds of resentment, discouragement, bitterness and even wrath because we did not deal with them in a gracious and understanding manner would be in many ways a difficult wound to heal.
Upon reading the following article by John MacArthur my eyes have been opened a little more with just how we may be provoking them; perhaps at times without realising it, but as always we must be continually searching our hearts. We truly are not loving them, if we provoke, just as much as if we are not loving them if we do not discipline! In other words, as we should hold the discipline of our young ones in high regard, we equally should regard provocation as something which could impact upon and taint the effects of our discipline. Equally important, as outlined by John MacArthur, is that if we fail to build our children up by encouragement, but instead, more regularly ‘tear them down’ by our harshness, we are not producing what the Bible intended to be loving, balanced, parenting skills.
To quote a quote from the end of the post, and encourage you (and me, of course) to read and think upon this issue, is what I found to be a humble account of the failings of one particular ‘older’ and maybe ‘wiser’ parent.
The confession of one Christian father,
My family’s all grown and the kids are all gone. But if I had to do it all over again, this is what I would do. I would love my wife more in front of my children. I would laugh with my children more—at our mistakes and our joys. I would listen more, even to the littlest child. I would be more honest about my own weaknesses, never pretending perfection. I would pray differently for my family; instead of focusing on them, I’d focus on me. I would do more things together with my children. I would encourage them more and bestow more praise. I would pay more attention to little things, like deeds and words of thoughtfulness. And then, finally, if I had to do it all over again, I would share God more intimately with my family; every ordinary thing that happened in every ordinary day I would use to direct them to God.
This is one post to ‘blue-tack’ to your fridge door, as one of the commenters suggests!
WAYS PARENTS PROVOKE (John MacArthur)