Stop Provoking Your Children to Anger

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I've been thinking about Ephesians 6:4 lately. I poked around for a few commentaries and found this page to have some interesting stuff. It looks like Paul uses the present imperative, so the passage could be rendered "stop provoking your children to anger."

Way back in the day as a surrogate father, I found I focused heavily on the "children obey your parents" verse. But I skipped the one about not exasperating my children.

Now that school is gearing up again, many of my college-aged friends are more acutely experiencing the pain and frustration of this time of transition. So are their parents, it seems. The transition toward independence in college was a rough stretch for me, even with my great parents. And some of my friends are entering this period without the close bond I had as a homeschooled kid. While I do encourage these kids to honor their parents, their parents are absolutely exasperating!

So, question: Do you think it's easier for you not to exasperate your children because you know them so well as a homeschool parent? How do you apply this verse and take it to heart?

Come to think of it, I've been around church long enough to hear a few sermons and lessons about obeying/honoring parents. I haven't heard as many on not provoking children to anger and discouragement. In my observation, it isn't that hard to say or do something that causes your kid to lose heart. I'm not even a parent and I've said things that discouraged kids around me. This, like the verses before it, is probably something I need to meditate on more than I do...

Do you have any insights into the admonition to not exasperate but rather instruct in the Lord?

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Empty Nester

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Filmmaker, Writer, Pseudo-Dad
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3 Responses to Stop Provoking Your Children to Anger

  1. Laura P says:

    I think it is all too easy to provoke our children to anger. How? Any time I am NOT walking in the Spirit, I am prone to emotionally injure one of my precious little ones. When I'm not walking in the Spirit, I am more concerned with appearances, my kids behave, how they make me "look" as a parent, (it becomes all about ME!) ...and I'm easily annoyed with their childlike behavior (which may or may not really be sinful). So, my thoughts on this are simple. We need to drink at Jesus' feet. We need to humble ourselves and know that we NEED Him so desperately! When I'm consumed with the Lord, His grace, the heart is set right, and I respond with grace and love, gently exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit. I need this reminder hourly.

  2. Jeff Hoots says:

    Laura P is right on with the word "not." The imperative not to provoke our children to anger seems to require 100% perfection 100% of the time, at least from me. So we have to be constantly diligent to be walking with God ourselves.

  3. Luke says:

    Great points. It's far too easy to do something wrong when we aren't focused on Christ.


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