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A daily devotion for April 28th

A Word to Fathers

Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.

Colossians 3:21

This word translated Fathers could well be translated Parents because it includes both the father and the mother. But here, the emphasis is laid on the father, for it is his responsibility to lead his family. There is nothing more dishonoring to the Christian faith than the attitude adopted by many fathers: It is my job to make the living; her job is to raise the children. Not so! The father is called to lead, but he is to do so with the gentleness of Christ. So the word is spoken to fathers: Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.

The word for embitter is from the word to stir up, arouse, or irritate. This does not mean that parents are never to say or do anything that makes their children feel irritated. Discipline can often irritate a child. We must not seek to avoid every instance of that. But this word is given in the present continuous tense. Thus, it is really saying, Fathers, do not keep on irritating your children. Don't keep hammering away at it, nagging them, or they will become discouraged. This is an important lesson for fathers. One of my grandsons was a bit sullen the other day when I was correcting him about something. When I asked him why he was acting that way, he said, Because you're always accusing me. That gave me pause. I did not realize it looked like that to him. I did not think I was always accusing him; I am sure I was not, but to him it looked that way. I realized I had better change and approach things differently. That is what this word to fathers is about.

I have discovered, through long experience, that there are three things which fathers do that are particularly irritating to children. The first is to ignore them. A father who has no time for his child soon creates in him a deep-seated resentment. The child may not know how to articulate or explain the problem, but he feels unimportant and worthless. A second source of irritation is to indulge your children, giving them everything they want. That soon will make them restless and dissatisfied. Children long for guidance and direction; for intimacy, not for superficial indulgence. Such indulgence will frequently create a deep-seated, sometimes lifelong feeling of resentment. Insulting them, calling them names and putting them down, is also a source of resentment in children. They will become discouraged and be put off from the things of God. Many a child sooner or later becomes resentful if their fathers do not obey the word of the apostle, Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.

I am thankful, Lord, to have you as my Heavenly Father. Teach me to build up my children instead of embittering them.

Life Application

What are the specific ways that I can build up the generation behind me rather than embitter them?

This Daily Devotion was Inspired by one of Ray's Messages

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