For the Dads

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Discipline only out of love and for the purpose of training your children in the ways of the Lord. Let the words of the Bible become the words of your parenting.

Ephesians 6:4

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

Exasperate is a word we don’t hear very often, but it’s something a lot of us dads struggle with. In short, it means to anger or annoy or irritate. Some versions of the bible use the word provoke, which means to purposefully anger someone. We sin in this regard when our goal in parenting is to anger or “get the best of” our children. As a result, we end up with children that struggle with anger…just like us.

Do you ever discipline your kids arbitrarily? You’re in a bad mood, they do something to annoy you, and so you discipline them to “put them in their place.” It’s like we feel the need to flex our parenting muscles and that by doing so, they will do what we want them to do. That’s parenting by fear and coercion and it’s a sin according to Ephesians 6:4, not to mention the command to love our neighbors as ourselves.

So what’s the solution? First, discipline only out of love and for the purpose of training them in the ways of the Lord. You want them to become more like Christ, not just more submissive to your will. Second, discipline them gently. Show restraint and stay calm. Don’t yell or call names or degrade them. And finally, parent biblically. Let the words of the Bible become the words of your parenting. Cite scripture or biblical principles and remind them that your family goal is to become more like Christ.

APPLICATION: Ask your children how you make them feel when you discipline them. Do you do it just because you are mad…or because you love them and want the best for them? Ask them if they always know why you are disciplining them, and what the goal is. Finally, confess if you need to and seek their forgiveness.

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