Reflection: Welcome back. Our past few days together have taken in two Old Testament passages (Genesis 1:27-28; Exodus 20:12) that offer insight into God’s instructions about children. Jump forward to the New Testament with me. At the start of the final chapter of Ephesians, the apostle Paul quotes Exodus 20:12 as a scriptural foundation for family. Straight after Paul calls “children [to] obey your parents in the Lord, because this is right,” he changes tack and delivers direction to the dads: “Fathers, don’t stir up anger in your children.” I really would like to say that is something I cannot be accused of. But recently, my three-year-old daughter told me sternly, and repeatedly, that I was “being distracting”. Yeah, she said “distracting”. But what she meant was “you’re stirring up anger in me with all your silly teasing and not actually responding to what I’m saying.” Thanks, Ephesians 6:4, for supporting my youngest’s rightful case against me. Turns out I need to be more about the second half of that verse: “but bring [your children] up in the training and instruction of the Lord”. I have since apologised for the distractions and have been intentional about not being so.
Question: I know the verse only speaks directly to fathers but if you are a parent, are you someone who gives focus to helping your child’s faith to flourish? Or do you stir up anger within them?
Prayer: Dear God of patience and harmony, please work in my heart and mind to not stir anger in my children – or other children of God. Increase my desire to grow in the things of you, so I can share that with others. Amen.