TODAY’S SCRIPTURE Ephesians 6:4; Colossians 3:21

To safeguard the psychological, emotional, social, and spiritual well being of his children, a father’s discipline needs to strike a balance between the extremes of reckless permissiveness and repressive punishment. Most of us can probably picture in our minds those who exemplify either extreme.

Some fathers are nothing more than doormats. Their children walk all over them. Fearful of incurring the wrath of their spoiled children, these fathers rarely administer discipline, and when it is exercised, it is done timidly and reluctantly. Consequently, their children never really learn to respect authority, which creates problems for them when it comes to recognizing and accepting God’s rule over them.

Other fathers are nothing more than despots. They walk all over their children. Fearful of being embarrassed by them, these fathers constantly administer discipline, and when it is exercised, it is done harshly and unreasonably. Consequently, their children become angry, frustrated, and disheartened, which jeopardizes being able to penetrate their hearts with the Gospel.

Still other fathers have taken seriously the admonitions of Ephesians 6:4 and Colossians 3:21. They walk with their children. These fathers temper their discipline with love, compassion, kindness, wisdom, and patience. They are cautious not to exasperate their children by being overbearing or arbitrary (Ephesians 6:4a; Colossians 3:21), but they also seize every opportunity to “bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4b). Consequently, their children are usually well adjusted and respect authority, which makes their hearts more receptive to their Heavenly Father and His plan to save them from their sins.

Today I will…pray for those fathers who are struggling to be balanced and sensible in rearing their children to love and serve God.