Do you realize how huge of a responsibility God has given you? Being a parent can be the most rewarding job you’ll ever have but it can also lead to a lot of heartache. As Fathers (and Mothers) we often wonder how we are doing as parents. Many people will say that children do not come with instruction manuals but I say they do. God has given us much information in The Bible on how to bring up our children. See today’s verse:
“Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.” Colossians 3:21
What is God saying in this verse? Is he saying don’t ever make your children angry? If this is the case then I am failing miserably because my children are mad at me a good bit. God does not mean that we should never discipline our children or tell them NO.
Instead, He is saying that we should not abuse our authority over our children. How do we do this? Sometimes we nag our children over things that have no real meaning. Or we focus on negative things while not recognizing the positive. It’s important to remember that God shows such patience with us and we sometimes do not give our children the same advantage.
Think of some of the times in your life when you you have lost your patience with your children. What look did they have on their faces? I can distinctly remember a look on my son’s face when I lost my cool with him. It was a defeated look and it leads to anger and resentment. I will never forget that look and I never want to see it again.
So how do we avoid provoking our children?
Children need and want rules but they also need consistency. If an action is wrong today it must be wrong tomorrow as well. Changing the rules as we go leads to our children being confused about our expectations and leads to anger.
Discipline in Love
We must never forget that all discipline must be done in love and not anger. True discipline is done through love and our children need to know that we love them. It’s important to remember, as we discipline our children, that the reason we are disciplining them is because we love them. This is a difficult idea to relay to children but it must be done.
After we have disciplined our child it’s important to grant forgiveness. God says in Matthew 6:15 “But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” God has granted us forgiveness after the multitude of sins we commit. Our children must know that once they have been disciplined and expressed repentance that we forgive them. Furthermore, we should encourage them and not discourage them. How do we encourage? By not bringing up past wrongs. Being reminded of their failures will lead to a lack of confidence and lead to anger. God sets the perfect example here (as always).
This boils down to a very simple principle – God sets the example and if we treat our children the way God treats us then we cannot go wrong. Below are some helpful verses.