Do Not Exasperate Your Children

The Bible warns parents (especially fathers) not to exasperate their children (Col 3:21).  The dictionary defines "exasperate" as making someone intensely irritated and frustrated.  The Greek word means to stir to anger; to embitter; to make resentful.  The idea is do not act in a way that causes your children to hate you.  The CJB version says, "Fathers, don't irritate your children and make the resentful."

The ERV puts it like this:  "Fathers, don't upset your children."  If you have children, then you know it is impossible to never upset your children.  If you are doing your job, then you should be upsetting your children from time to time.  When you deny them what they want, or make demands that they don't like, or correct them when they are wrong, you risk upsetting and angering them.  It is unavoidable.  But the idea in Colossians 3:21 is do not upset your children needlessly; unnecessarily.

You can get some good ideas about how to avoid exasperating your children just by surveying some of the different English Bible translations.  Here are some examples:  
  • AMP “Fathers, do not provoke or irritate or exasperate your children [with demands that are trivial or unreasonable or humiliating or abusive; nor by favoritism or indifference; treat them tenderly with lovingkindness], 
  • AMPC “Fathers, do not provoke or irritate or fret your children [do not be hard on them or harass them], 
  • ERV: “Fathers, don’t upset your children.  If you are too hard to please, they might want to stop trying.”
  • Phillips: “Fathers, don’t over-correct your children.”
  • TLB:  “Fathers, don’t scold your children so much”
  • MSG: “Parents, don’t come down too hard on your children”
  • TPT: “And fathers, don’t have unrealistic expectations for your children”
Your mission is to bring up your children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.  But if you exasperate your children then you risk undermining your efforts.
"Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they won't become discouraged."  Colossians 3:21

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