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Devotional by Ray Stedman – Parents and children – A daily devotion for March 26

Topic:Parents and children

And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the discipline and admonition of the Lord.
Ephesians 6: 4

Ray Stedman devotion
Ray Stedman

Naturally, when we talk about parents, this includes both the mother and the father. It is true, however, that the emphasis falls more on the father, because he is responsible for what his children will become. This is something very serious, is not it, parents? The mother may enforce a policy, but it is part of the father’s job to ensure that his children are properly educated. There is nothing that more dishonors the spirit of Christianity than the attitude adopted by many parents: “I am responsible for earning my salary, and her job is to raise children.” It is not like that in the Word of God! In the Bible, the ultimate responsibility for what the home becomes is the father’s, so this word is addressed to the parents.

This is how the father submits to his children, purposely avoiding those things that cause the children to rebel. “Do not provoke your children to anger.” The word used here means “the anger that results in rebellion.” “Parents, do not provoke your children so that they lose all control and are decidedly against authority.”

There are two things that provoke rebellion in children: indulgence and hardness. These two things are the negative aspect of the two things that represent what the father must do: “Breed them in discipline and admonition of the Lord”. The two things contrary to these are indulgence and hardness.

Lack of discipline will make the child feel insecure, unhappy and selfish. This is what we call “a spoiled child”, that is, those children who grow up trying to always get away with everything and who become tyrants, without caring at all about the feelings of others. This is the result of parents’ indulgence that allows their children to make decisions that no child is qualified to make. It is necessary for parents to learn that they are the ones who have to make decisions for their children for many years in life, gradually teaching them to make decisions when they are trained to do so. During the first years of childhood, parents have to make virtually all decisions.

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The other extreme that makes a child rebel is harshness, the imposition of a rigorous and demanding discipline that is never accompanied by love or understanding. The rigid discipline, military style, is the one that says: “Do this or that or the other thing”, something that will cause the son to inevitably rebel when he reaches adolescence.

In opposition to this, the apostle speaks about two things: discipline and admonition (exhortation) in the Lord. The word for discipline means “to put in mind” the Lord, which is to instruct and make the son always keep the Lord in mind. As the child grows, physical discipline must be replaced by exhortation, by understanding, helping him to understand what are the reasons behind the restrictions, always showing interest and love. This does not mean totally relaxing the limits, but it refers to a different way of making them fulfilled.

Father, I thank you because You can change the mistakes I made as a father in opportunities for progress in the lives of my children, as well as in my own life.

Application to life
Are we, as parents, able to see and recognize the two current behaviors that cause rebellion in our children? What instruction and teaching does our Father give us?

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