“Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.” Colossians 3:21
On Sunday I read Colossians, and one of the verses struck me – boldly affirming of how well God knows us and our natures, the immediate and lasting value of loving relationships, as well as the gift of finding new words in God’s timeless messages to us.
I was reading the verses around this one, the ones made more familiar by weddings and sermons; then when reading about parent/child relationships I heard consequences that God felt grave enough to mention it here for the ages: a discouraged child.
I know exactly what that looks like – in me, in those I love, and in the life of friends who experienced childhood abandonments (passive and not-so-passive) and it is not right. Enough not right that God chose these particular words (in this translation anyway) to vehemently call it out as a “don’t do”!
He could have said: don’t provoke lest your child will not turn out right, abandon you, shame you, be filled with demons or be burned up like dry grass. But He didn’t. Simply and concisely God reminds us of the generational consequences of our actions, and the importance of a parent’s role in protecting a child’s sense of encouragement in themselves, their purposes and their faith.
This Book is filled with God’s Word that strikes an ear with newness and love when I look for relatable issues and problems and loving support and suggestions. Today the main take away for me is: God does not want us to be, or become, discouraged – at least not as a result of a parent’s selfish/self-willed provoking ways.
That’s a gem worth looking for on a Sunday morning.