Fathers you have a choice. You can lead your children with the grace of God’s word and Spirit or you can provoke them to anger.
Things become unclear when fathers gauge the success of their leadership on the immediate responses of their children. The fruit of the gospel, that is the fruit of the Spirit, is not produced overnight. You child may obey because he is a people pleaser or is afraid of what might happen if he doesn’t. Your goal must not be compliance. If it is, then one day you will be surprised by an angry child who will seemed to have appeared out of nowhere.
God wants you to use his instructions, given with his motivations, and supported by gospel grace as you discipline. Failure to follow this path will lead to angry children. This anger will flow, at least in part, from your hypocrisy.
Hypocrisy is something we cannot avoid. We tell our children not to fight and we argue with our wives. We tell our children God is control and we become angry or despondent with the circumstances of life. What you can do is tell you children about your struggles with hypocrisy. Seek forgiveness, use pleasant words, and speak the truth seasoned with salt and love. Help them to see that you are engaged in the same battles that they face. It works much better if you fight them together.
Fathers – be about the gospel and the Spirit’s truth. Don’t wait to find out from your 15 year-old that you have provoked your son or daughter to anger.
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.