Tuesday, 23 May 2017
Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. Colossians 3:21
This verse is a close match to Ephesians 6:4 –
“And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.”
The word Paul uses for “provoke” is found only here and in 2 Corinthians 9:2. It gives the sense of stirring something up. His intent then is that fathers are not to irritate their children. In acting in such a manner, they are bound to “become discouraged.” This word is one found only here in Scripture, athumeo. It gives the sense of being spiritless, and thus disheartened.
It is not appropriate for a father to beat down a child to the point that they become despondent and broken in their spirit. Rather, a father is meant to do exactly the opposite, building their children up so that they will become mature and sound people. Instead of deriding a child for missing the ball with the bat, the father should encourage him. “That’s OK son, it was a great swing.” In the end, such positive, rather than negative, reinforcement will produce the more stable child.
Life application: In dealing with your children, ask yourself if you would like to be treated the way they are being treated. How often we expect more of our children than we would of ourselves. It is true we should want them to become even better people than we are, but growing is a process which takes time and encouragement.
Heavenly Father, help those of us who are parents to be more like You. Help us to encourage our children, guide them on the right paths of righteousness, and to teach them how to avoid the pitfalls of life. Your word does each of these things for us, and so help us to apply those precepts to our interactions with our own children. In the end, we will build them up rather than exasperate them if we do these things. Help us in this, to Your glory. Amen.