Sunday, November 18, 2007

Expression or Explosion

Have you ever left a can full of pop in extreme heat for too long? If you have, you know the outcome. An explosion of its contents probably scattered over a wide area!

Since we recently observed “Fathers Day”, it is appropriate to remember the words of Paul in the first century A.D. when he, under the inspiration of God, cautioned and encouraged Dads:

“… do not exasperate (Provoke) your children; instead bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4, NIV). The word “exasperate” essentially means: ‘DON’T AROUSE THE MIND OR EMOTIONS TO AN EXTREME’. It is like pressure building up in a pop can or like pressing a substance between two solid ends. The greater the pressure without an outlet, the more likely a big explosion! Addressing conflict between fathers and their sons and daughters, Paul calls dads not to push their children over the edge or to an extreme. Sometimes, we can say something or do something that adds to the pressure inside our children because we have not been sensitive to their emotions and struggles. What then, is the solution?

Trust God to help you to raise spiritually healthy children --rooted or firmly planted in Jesus. Ephesians 6:4 says …”Bring them up in the TRAINING and INSTRUCTION of the Lord”. “Training” comes from a word meaning “discipline” or correction. This is a boundary, a fence, or a channel in which your children can grow. It is the opposite of letting your children do as they want. That would teach many children to be wild, selfish, and irresponsible. “Instruction” comes from a word meaning “to put in the mind”. The full meaning is to put or teach God’s word to your children. Fill their minds with the truth of God when they are young. When you model, practice, and teach God’s word to your children, His word will act as a boundary, a healthy boundary to protect your children from the wild extremes so obvious in the streets, televisions, and internet of our communities.

Whenever you are guilty of provoking your child “over the edge”, remind yourself of Paul’s word’s in Ephesians 6:4. Then ask God to help you create an encouraging atmosphere in your family so that your children will choose expression over explosion!

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