Set the Tone | Parenting – Heart
Do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Eph.6:4
“I’m gonna throw you out this window if you do that again!” “You’re a worthless brat!” “Yeah, I know I said I’d go fishing with you, but I have work to do now.” Parenting blunders. Every parent has a closet full, but many of them could have been avoided if we had realized how powerfully our actions affected little hearts. When caught in the passion or frustration of the moment, we say or do things we don’t mean and then forget about them. But little hearts don’t forget. Those words burned a hole in a heart that won’t be easily repaired. That broken promise, bad example, or angry diatribe may have set a course in a child’s life we knew nothing about. When we use words or actions to wound, lie, or berate, we provoke our children to anger.
That thought can be overwhelming, but this verse does not mean that parents must never make their kids mad. Kids will get mad for all sorts of reasons. This verse warns us about the anger provoked when children become convinced that they are, and will always be, failures. Parents provoke their children to anger when discipline is inconsistent or unjust, when promises are broken, and when the parents live as hypocrites. Children who fear that parents cannot be trusted or respected disconnect from authority and become a law unto themselves. When hearts have become stony, they are no longer teachable. Parents who are unwilling, preoccupied, hypocritical, or too permissive to bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord bring harm not only to that child, but to all of society. Everyone suffers. God knows what He’s talking about.
If you have provoked your children to anger, asking God’s forgiveness and theirs heals relationships.
Father, examine my heart and my past. In what ways have I failed those you’ve entrusted to me. I confess my sin and ask your forgiveness. Strengthen me as I ask their forgiveness too. May new relationships begin. In Jesus’ name, Amen.