Fathers have a critical role in the family. The father sets the tone for the family and especially his children. It is the leadership of the Father that has the most impact on his kids. God gives the father some specific instructions on how he is to lovingly raise his children so that they grow up with a healthy respect for their dad.
Consider these instructions in this single verse.
Fathers, do not irritate and provoke your children to anger – do not exasperate them to resentment – but rear them tenderly in the training and discipline and the counsel and admonition of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4 AMPL
God makes a point to warn fathers not to exasperate their children to the point that resentment gets a foothold in them. There are so many ways this happens. Have you ever known a dad that never seems to be satisfied with a kids grades? It seems to the kid like he/she can never be good enough.
How about a dad who tells his children to speak, and act a certain way, but he himself does not do it? This only adds to the resentment in a child. And what about dad’s who ignore their kids and then wonder why they don’t have a close relationship with them? Or, on the other extreme, what about the dad who loves his children, but goes overboard with discipline that leads to anger? This can lead to disrespect and even fear because of the unfairness of the punishment.
What is the outcome of this kind of behavior from a dad? Irritation, anger, exasperation and resentment become rooted in them. This is a real danger and if it is not seen by the dad and if he does not change then matters get worse. They may become estranged.
The word “estranged” means, “to turn a person from an affectionate or friendly attitude to an indifferent , unfriendly, or hostile one, to alienate the affections of.” I have seen this terrible outcome from time to time and it is heart wrenching.
What does God tell fathers to do to avoid this?
“But rear them tenderly in the training and discipline and the counsel and discipline of the Lord.”
Children need to be trained and disciplined and they need biblical counsel and admonition. This is the fathers role.
A father trains his son or daughter by his example. He lives in such a way that the love of Jesus can be seen in him.
A father trains his children by tutoring them in God’s word, establishing God’s standards and principles as lifestyle habits.
A father corrects his children and when necessary he disciplines them with an appropriate punishment.
A father helps his child by giving good Biblical counsel that helps his child maneuver through life’s difficulties.
In these ways a father nurtures his children and they grow up to be the kind of stable and rooted person God wants.
These are the ways that a father maintains the respect, honor and love of his children.
What Christian father wouldn’t want this? So, if you are a dad today who is struggling in some of these ways with a child, maybe you should consider what God has to say and examine how you are doing things.
It terrible thing to have a child who has lost his or her affection for you and becomes indifferent to you. So, think about this post. Listen to the Spirit of God. Make the changes needed that will bring respect and honor and love to you from your kids.