It does take courage to do things God’s way.  It takes courage to follow God’s instruction on being a parent.  After viewing the new movie “Courageous”, Pastor Don and I concluded that we should encourage all to see this film about fathers assuming their God given responsibilities in parenting.

The following testimony is how God worked in my heart to become a better father:

While I was growing up, one of my favorite past-times was getting under-my-sister’s-skin.  In other words I liked provoking her to anger.   Even after trusting Christ at the age of 18, I still fell to this temptation but now felt convicted for my unkindness to the point that I would even ask her forgiveness.  It is amazing how knowing Christ as Savior begins to change us and better our relationships within our families!

Nearly 10 years later when I became a father, it revealed that I still enjoyed irritating people, though I was unaware that I was doing anything wrong.  This time it was my new baby daughter of just a few weeks old. Well, we had this new camera that had this automatic rewind and rapid picture taking capability, so I snapped a picture of our little one who was sleeping so sweetly in her car seat.  Nothing wrong with that!  But the flash kind of disturbed her rest, and she had a little frown upon her face.  So I snapped another picture, the bright flash glaring into her little face. She became a little irritated now, and I was so amused by her reaction that I snapped another one, and another one, and another one–until my baby daughter was wailing in helpless frustration.  She was crying and I was laughing.  I was laughing at the frustration that I had the power to arouse in another person.  I was laughing at the expense of someone for whom I was supposed to protect and tenderly care.   It was so easy to do—so fun—so wrong!

I continued to provoke—I called it teasing my daughter.  I did not really begin to change until about 6 years later when my wife encouraged me to find out what the Bible teaches about parenting.  At that time I was floundering as a father, had been abdicating my responsibilities, and desperately needed help.   The Bible had the wisdom and instruction I needed to be the father that God wanted me to be.  Two of the scriptures that particularly grabbed my attention were Ephesians 6:4 “And ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord,” and Colossians 3:21, “Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.”

I was deeply convicted of my unkindness in provoking my daughter to anger by those clear scriptural commands!  What a contrast to the nurturing father God wanted me to be!  By following the parenting practices of my ancestors, I was unwittingly discouraging my daughter.  I was neglecting to build a relationship based upon loving respect.  With God’s help I began to overcome the pleasure of provoking my daughter and instead began to lovingly train and correct her.  I turned back from a path that had been leading me to ruin and began traveling a path that has brought me tremendous joy.  God’s way made all the difference.

May God grant us fathers the grace to resist the temptations to provoke our children to wrath and give us the wisdom to train them for the Lord.

With Prayer, Pastor Mark

Note:  The Bible study that changed my life in the area of parenting is available on my blog by clicking here.   Please let me know if it has helped you.  I would love to hear specific examples of  how God has helped you through the Word of God to be a better parent.

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