Keeper of His Home

by Chelsea McCafferty

Part 8 – Love is not Easily Provoked, The Loving Homekeeper Series

“Love is not easily provoked.” 1 Corinthians 13:5

I have found that there are times in my life when exhibiting the love of God—His way—means going against my very nature. See I’m a sinner. I’m selfish my nature. In my selfishness, I tend to be impatient and ungraceful. I tend to be easily provoked to anger when things do not go my way or when people (even the little ones) do not do as I ask, exactly how I asked and at the very moment I asked.

Excellent recent example. Last night I was holding my three year-old daughter and she was munching on some candy. It was “Nerds” candy, which are like tiny colorful pebbles. She kept shaking the box and I told her that she would likely spill them if she continued to shake the box. So she stopped. Wait…no….that’s not how it went! Of course my strong-willed little girl didn’t stop. She continued to shake the box and suddenly sent the candy flying all over me! If I was a cartoon character you would have seen my eyes turn red and smoke come out of my ears. I sharply rebuked her for not listening and making a mess.

After some kind words of encouragement from my own mother (who had seen the whole thing), I realized I had over-reacted. I had been easily provoked to anger. My daughter had not understood the consequences of what she was doing. I had not given her a direct order to stop shaking the box, but rather suggested it was a bad idea. She didn’t listen. Instead she continued to learn how her bad judgement had caused the candy to be sucked up the vacuum instead of her mouth! Love is not easily provoked.

How often do we do this very thing to God. We go against the Spirit’s conviction in our hearts to do something we know isn’t good for us. Sometimes God has said no. Sometimes He’s just said it isn’t a good idea. Sometimes we listen and sometimes we don’t. The good news is, when we don’t listen and we follow our own desires or way of thinking rather than God’s, and we stumble and fall, God is not quick to anger. He is not easily provoked. When we mess up and sin and come running to Him for forgiveness, He doesn’t shout out us or give us the cold shoulder. He is not easily provoked. His love is longsuffering and patient.

I long to be a mother and wife who is not easily provoked. I pray that God will chip away that quick temper that is part of my nature. I hope one day to be the kind of woman that people look at and wonder, “does she ever get angry?” hehe It won’t be soon but maybe someday with the help of the Holy Spirit!

God’s love is not easily provoked. Are you easily provoked to anger or wrath? Do you have patience and grace for people? Are you slow to anger and quick to forgive? We all need to pray for God to perfect His love in us so that we can pour that love out on our family, our friends, our church family and the lost. May His love be ever in our hearts and on our tongues!

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Provoke Not Your Children to Wrath

“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4

 While this verse specifically mentions “fathers”, it is clearly the will of God for all parents; both fathers and mothers. We can assume that because the husband, or father, is meant to be the head of the household under God’s commandment, and therefore the wife and mother would follow his lead in this matter. Therefore this verse does apply to mothers as well. So, what is it saying?

The word “provoke” is the Greek word “parorgizō” which means, “to provoke, to exasperate, or to rouse to wrath.” Parents are not to rouse their children to wrath. Sounds simple enough, but how can we accomplish this? After all, kids get angry if you say they aren’t to eat a bag full of candy, or if you turn off the television and ask them to help with the chores. The Lord is not telling parents to give children whatever they want to keep them happy. He is instructing parents to keep our side of things clean, and to search out areas in our parenting where our bad decisions, actions and language is causing unnecessary wrath in our children. For example, nothing angers a child more than favoring one sibling over the others. While parents will often deny doing this, I’ve seen many examples of families where one child is treated more favorably than the others. Perhaps he or she is the star athlete of the family, or the one with the greatest desire to learn. Meanwhile, little brother just doesn’t seem to take to sports and struggles with mathematics and science. Parents must always love these children equally and give them the same amount of nurturing, encouragement and quality time.

Children will sometimes accuse parents of favoring one sibling even if it’s not the case. My own brothers still tease my mother to this very day that I was always her favorite. While I hope and am sure they know this is not really the case, and that my mother loves us all equally, it is often the joke brought up at family gatherings. Parents will not be able to eliminate all instances of anger, but we can limit them by being cautious and examining our actions often.

Another mistake that parents fall into is one of inconsistency. Now this can be the match that lights up a fire in your child’s heart. This is an area I have struggled with and continue to fail quite a bit in my short time with my sweet daughter. Inconsistency with the rules, the discipline and the rewards can cause anger within your child. Kids need boundaries they can depend on. If you set a boundary and then bend or break it from time to time, children will be confused about what they can and cannot get away with. When they repeat the action that previously resulted in no punishment, but this time there is a consequence, they will become angry and rebellious. Be consistent. If something is against the rules, it must be handled the same way every time that rule is broken. Children need stability and consistency in their lives, and it is a loving parent who provides these.

Thirdly, children will be stirred up to wrath because of the sin of their parents. Children are always watching and listening. They hear when parents fight and speak cruel words to one another. They watch when mom is disrespectful to their father or dad is being unloving to their mother. They will spot hypocrisy when parents put on happy Sunday church faces and then become other people behind closed doors. Nothing used to make me more upset as a child then when people would talk about how wonderful my dad was and they never knew how things were at home. He was wonderful in public and kind and generous to everyone. Then, once we were home and it was just the family, his attitude, language and behavior would completely change. Your children are watching. Make sure what they see in you is a godly example of Christ and not a life of hypocrisy.

            “The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him.” Proverbs 20:7

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