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Vex not your children

01-11-2011 - Posted by Andre Piet

And fathers, do not be vexing your children, but be nurturing them in the discipline and admonition of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4 (CLV) Fathers, do not vex your children, lest they may be disheartened. Colossians 3:21 (CLV)

Did I show in a previous blog, based on Proverbs, that in the rearing of children it is not about imposing law, but about properly instructing them, the apostle Paul says something similar. He puts the vexing of children in opposition to nurturing them in the discipline of the Lord. If the first, is vexes them, it follows that the latter, evidently, will make them happy. typically ‘law’ The vexation and despair of the children is a typical effect of the principle of law. It makes demands which children cannot deliver. They are charged with ‘this is not allowed’ and ‘that is not acceptable’. They never do it well enough. The opposite to such a bitter and despondent effect is an education in grace. Parents who by example and instruction in the joy of God’s promises (cp. Eph.6:2). not always idyllic For the record: I know very well that such an ideal education, in practice, is not always idyllically achieved. Children do not always want to hear and obey; consequently, it is inevitable that sometimes they must feel how painful it is to disregard words of wisdom. “Whoever burns his seat, is bound to sit on the blisters,” says the proverb. It is also the parents’ duty, when necessary, to apply painful measures to their children, such as, taking something away from them or denying them certain privileges for a awhile. Children may be asked to pay certain expenses, they caused. A literal application of “the ‘board’ of education to their ‘seat’ of learning” works wonders at times, even though the latter is not quite politically correct, these days… the difference The difference between such educational measures and punishment in a legalistic context, is that the latter is always based on disapproval. Punishment then takes place in an atmosphere of rejection and is often applied out of proportion, dictated by a lost temper. Such education frustrates children, and is liable to make them resentful, even into old age when remembering their youth. When, on the other hand, parents nurture them in grace (=joy) and “the rod” is used with wisdom, they know that their children will, eventually, be very thankful (Prov.29:17; Heb.12:11). And that does not even have to take years to be realized. I remember hearing from my father, that as a boy, he received a good spanking from my grandfather, that the next day he acknowledged to be happy with a father who was not like the flabby judge Eli of long ago… (See: 1Sam.3:13). An education in grace is not soft, but means to be consistently reminded of the joy which a proper knowledge of God provides! ——————————— translation: Peter Feddema