As parents we probably all know Ephesians 6:1 by heart. (At least that was true for me; I quoted it almost more than any other when my children were growing up.) “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” I made sure they had committed it to memory too.
Right on its tracks is another admonition that we need to pay just as much attention to. “And, fathers, do not provoke your children to anger; but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” (Verse 4) Some translations say, “do not exasperate your children.” Exasperate is a good word because it means “irritate exceedingly, inflame or cause annoyance.”
How can you provoke your children to anger and thus fail God’s command? What if you put them down all the time instead of building them up? How about spending so much time disciplining them you forget to say how much you appreciate them? Even in discipline, you can be inconsistent or unfair or too heavy handed. Worse than that, what about controlling their every move?
Any who grew up under these tactics can attest to how exasperating they are. Unfortunately, with no other role model, many parents repeat the only behavior they knew as children on their own children.
Think back to when you were a child. Did your parents obey Ephesians 6:4? If not, don’t make the same mistake. Ask your children how you are doing in that department and be sure to do so with an open and teachable heart.
Now, how about doing a verse exchange that will have Father God smiling at both you and your children? Here’s the deal: 4 for 1.