“Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.”
“lest they become discouraged”
Parents can discourage their children. The word “discouraged” means disheartened. Discouragement is a lack of motivation. Children can feel like giving up.
Parents can discourage their children.
Some parents indirectly train their children that going to church is not essential. It is more important to go to the lake than to church. Children soon learn our evaluation of things. They know what is important to us by our actions rather than by what we say. They can tell if spiritual things are essential to us.
If parents sit around and have roast preacher for supper, children will understand the parents’ view of the church. We wonder why children do not respect the pastor or the church. All they ever hear about the church is what is wrong with it. When they get old enough, they will not want to become involved with an outfit like that. They see the parents’ hypocrisy because they have listened to the parent’s criticism for so long. Their parents criticized the board, the staff, and the music program. Children absorb this. They grow cynical of the church. Then they drop out.
All the weeping in the world will not change it. By the time our children reach their teens, there is little we can say to bring them back. If you still have little ones around, be careful how you criticize God’s servants and church. Those little ears are listening. We put a great deal of time into those little lives. To have them grow up and reject Christianity, how ironic! If they go on to reject Christ and marry an unbeliever, we will look back and say, “Was it worth it to criticize the cause of Christ?”