It is much easier to speak first, thinking you will listen later. But often, speaking first means losing the opportunity to listen at all.
Swearing is how the world today gives expression and forcefulness to its conversation.
God has a higher standard for our speech than simply “not swearing.” What does He want from us? Is it acceptable to use slang that substitutes euphemisms for profanity?
The “put on” response to swearing is gratitude. Notice the end of Ephesians 5:4. Paul says that gratitude should punctuate your speech, not swearing. This contrast is striking. It is not simply replacing one set of words with another set of words. God wants your grateful heart. He wants your faithful, trusting heart. He wants your submissive, humble heart. When He has these things from you, swearing will not be an issue. If your talk acknowledges that God has sovereign control over your life, and that He is working all things together for your good, you will express your gratitude, not your frustration or rebellion.
Obeying [a parent] is doing exactly what [a child] is told, right away, with a good attitude.
God wants to be loved and obeyed at all times, not just when the consequences seem great to us. You must discipline your children every time they are disobedient. As God’s agent, you do not have the right to excuse or ignore disobedience. God requires you to bring up your children in the fear of the Lord. You may not make obedience a trivial or occasional issue. When a child deliberately disobeys, you have no choice but to exercise discipline out of love for God and love for your child.
You see, if you aren’t talking to your kids, someone else is. The statistics indicate that teenagers are spending three hours a day watching TV. Preschoolers are watching as much as four hours per day. If teenagers are listening to three hours of TV every day and averaging five minutes a day talking with their dads, who is winning the influence battle? If your preschooler watches four hours per day, how many hours is he hearing from you about how God runs His world? It doesn’t take X-rated violence, sex and language to have an ungodly influence. Even the “good” programs for children can be “bad company” if they offer an exciting, satisfying world that ignores (or denies) the sovereign God of the Bible. Do you really want your children to get the impression that it’s okay to ignore God most of the time?
Self-pity is a powerful, negative attitude that gives rise to many, many excuses for sin. People fall into Satan’s trap of giving themselves “permission” to sin to compensate for the difficulties and trials they’ve had to bear. Self-pity is a direct rejection of God’s control. It is saying, “I don’t like what you’ve done in my life, and I absolutely will not be content! I can’t change it, so I’ll just be angry and miserable.”
Why do we find it so easy to be amused by behavior that God hates and that Jesus Christ died to save us from?
If you don’t spend time thinking about God, you won’t have much to say about God.
Parents, when you give in to anger, resentment or self-pity at your children’s bad behavior, you make yourself the center of the problem. You are loving yourself first and most. You must love your kids enough to show them the danger of their behavior. They need to see that their first problem is with God, and only secondarily with you.