Lest the Children Be Discouraged

 •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 15
The first exhortation to fathers in Ephesians 6 is, “Ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath,” and in Colossians, “Fathers, provoke not your children to anger” (Col. 3:2121Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged. (Colossians 3:21)). The exhortation follows upon the call to children to obey their parents. Fathers are placed in almost absolute authority in the household, and hence the first thing the Spirit of God does in turning to parents is to admonish them as to the manner in which they should exercise their authority. Knowing what the flesh is, even in a Christian, and how apt we are to be tyrannical and despotic in the place in which God has set us, He, in tender consideration for those who are put in the subject position, says, “Provoke not your children to wrath.” Parents have almost unlimited control (limited only by the words added to the injunction, “in the Lord”) over their children, but they are hereby warned that they must be careful before God as to the method of their government. They must consider the feelings of their children, and while they must never abate one jot or tittle of what is due to the Lord, they must remember their child’s weakness and not lay upon them more than they can bear, lest they might be discouraged.
God’s Tenderness for Children
A more striking illustration of God’s tenderness for children could scarcely be conceived — a tenderness which was exemplified again and again by our blessed Lord while down here upon the earth —than is expressed in this special injunction to parents. We all know how apt we are to be capricious or harsh in our rule, and hence our need of this reminder. Let every parent remember that if, on the one hand, God has given him the rule over his family, on the other, He has carefully defined the character of its exercise, and that he is as responsible for the latter as for the former.
“Lest they should be discouraged.” How easy to discourage children, and especially from the right ways of the Lord. With keen and tender susceptibilities, of quick observation and rapid detection of inconsistencies, harsh discipline and admonishment might very soon undo years of patient teaching and speedily mar the most industrious efforts to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Parents cannot be too careful on this point, and it will aid them to be so if they remember that they derive their own position from divine appointment and that their children are to be governed and trained for the Lord.
E. Dennett