Hypocrisy is something you cannot avoid. You tell your children not to fight and then your argue with your spouse. You tell your children God is in control and then you become angry or despondent with the circumstances of life. You tell your children to put God first, and then you realize you told them that for selfish reasons.
What can you do?
You can 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. Encourage your children to fight these battles with you.
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. Hypocrisy is often fueled by a desire for quick results. However, the fruit of the gospel, that is the fruit of the Spirit, is not produced overnight. “Just do it” might work well in Nike commercials, but it is a poor guide for parenting.
Your goal must be much more than outward compliance. If compliance is all you look for, then one day you may be surprised by an angry teenager who will seemed to have appeared out of nowhere. A desire for quick results or mere outward compliance leaves the door wide open for hypocrisy to do damage.
Dealing with true heart change always takes time. Dealing with heart issues allows you to address your own struggles with your children and greatly lessens the danger of hypocrisy. Looking for quick results and outward compliance is a poor use of authority. This will not build relationships. This will cause you to be seen as a hypocrite. (This is not all that could be said about hypocrisy. but this is part of it.)
God wants you to use his instructions, given with his motivation, and supported by gospel grace as you raise your children. Failure to follow this path will lead to children who have been provoked to anger.
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
And so the Lord says,
“These people say they are mine.
They honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
And their worship of me
is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote.