Provoking to wrath…

Sigh…let me just start by saying that this subject, in my life, has worn itself out! I’ve dealt with it so much that it had become one of those things that I felt I had to bury deep deep away in order to be able to move on without it haunting me. There were no solutions for it, so my method of dealing with it was just to pile so many other things on top of it that it simply couldn’t surface.

This subject goes so very strongly against my nature. Therefore, whenever I think of the injustice of it I end up back on antidepressants simply because there just have never been any answers to my situation. Until recently…

I know that this subject is not ONLY about men, that women can do the very same thing. But I think it might be a stronger weakness in men than in women. The Bible even talks directly to men when it comes to this subject…in particular, to fathers. Ephesians 6:4 and Colossians 3:21.

I’ve often thought, “why do so many men NOT understand the impact that they have on their kids, the influence to guide and direct the hearts and minds of their kids, to help their daughters learn how to relate to men and their sons to women.” Their impact on their wives is also strong. They can make them feel loved, accepted, safe and secure, or they can make them feel unstable, unloved, confused and rejected. I don’t understand it. In my life, the two men that were given positions of “power”  to make or break me were both  so consumed with themselves that they simply did not see that with just a little effort they could actually change the course of my life and the lives of their families to make them feel safe and loved. But that wasn’t what they chose to do…no matter how many times I hinted, then encouraged, then pleaded, then begged, then finally, gave up. Why did neither one of them understand nor claim as their own the command from God that husbands love their wives and do not provoke to anger their children.

Let’s stop for a minute with how this affected me and look at the kids. These verses that say “do not provoke to anger” …. do you know how long it takes for a parent to get to the place of ‘provoking to anger with their child’? I do…I’ve watched the kids over the years….picked up the pieces from broken hearts, time and time and time and time and time and time again. Kids are sooo forgiving….they are resilient, they are always hopeful! So when God says to the fathers “do not provoke your child to wrath” He is laying out the bare minimum to the fathers and showing how much He knows what the dad’s weakness is. Do not provoke to wrath is at the final stage…after many years of neglect…then finally the children give up too and quit desiring a relationship with their dad. God gives the dads many many many chances before it gets to this stage. That’s God’s mercy!

But, for those dads that have let this “cancer” of neglect and jealousy and anger and taunting and abuse get to stage 4, where it “provoked their kids to wrath”, I only have one word to say….SHAME (on you). By the time your kids get to the point of being “provoked to wrath” you have been given so many chances to make things right and yet you chose to walk the path that ended with you trying to break your kids down into shambles while your wife walks around constantly and quietly picking up the pieces and trying to put the kids’ world back together again.

This is certainly nothing new! This kind of neglect from fathers has been going on since the beginning of time. Adam had two sons – Cain and Abel. Why did one of those sons end up killing the other son and being banned from the world that he knew? Hmmmm….one has to wonder. The Bible doesn’t go into detail, but the pattern seems kinda clear….maybe distracted parents who didn’t give their kids the attention, love, security that they needed? Look at Absalom (David’s son), who was angry at his father for not dealing with the situation of his half-brother, Amnon. Amnon raped his half-sister, Tamar. (read the story in 2 Samuel 13). Two years later Absalom, in retaliation for the rape of his sister, had Amnon killed. Absalom himself  ended up hanging from a tree by his hair and was  killed by Joab (read the story for yourself in 2 Samuel 18). Why all this tragedy? In my opinion…the neglect of a father (David) for his children. David did not deal with any of this stuff with his daughter, or his sons. In the end, David ended up in great sorrow wishing he could have died in place of his son, Absalom….a little too late! How very very sad when it all could have been avoided!

Many commentaries see Absalom as the “traiter” son. But I see it differently. I see a father (David) who “provoked his son to wrath”. Oh how this story could have turned out differently for David’s family if he’d have only obeyed God’s command to not multiply wives and to not provoke his children to wrath.

“Masculinity takes responsibility … glad sacrificial assumption of responsibility. Authority flees those who won’t take responsibility”. I read this somewhere and wrote it down because I liked it so much. I don’t remember where I read it. Responsibility to provide stability (not just financial), love, safety, clear-sound thinking minds. I used to think that maybe these things just weren’t possible for one man to give. I used to think  that maybe I was just expecting too much….once again, putting the blame on me, and not on the person dealing the deck. Once again, taking the blame from the shoulders of the one dishing out crap and moving into the role of “picking up the pieces” with a desire to create a sane world for my kids and for myself.

I don’t think that way anymore. Number one reason is that I have realized that God uses parents as His tool for raising the kids. It is a privilege and an honor that God bestows on us to be parents. But, the buck doesn’t stop with parents, fortunately! God chose to use parents as His means for Godly children, but He can do the job with or without us! God’s plan for someone’s life doesn’t fall into the hands of one person! No man or woman has that much power to destroy a life! Because God is a personal God of each individual. Therefore, each individual person has the ability to have a blessed and wonderful future, regardless of their past circumstances, regardless of their current circumstances, and regardless of their future circumstances.

Ultimately, Absalom’s future was not in the hands of David (although I believe David has a lot to answer for because he put Absalom in such a position of wrath) but was in Absalom’s own hands. He could have chosen to walk in the ways of God (which I’m sure he must have learned from his father – David was deemed “the man after God’s own heart”). But Absalom let the anger from the past totally consume him so that it blurred the truth. The truth was that God would have avenged Tamar, it wasn’t Absalom’s responsibility to do that. Certainly not by killing his half-brother, Amnon. But anger blurs our vision of the truth and it was David’s responsibility to keep Absalom from having blurred vision!

I have been angry for many years that  I was made to pick up the pieces for what should have been a healthy, stable life for my kids. My dad didn’t provide stability for my family and all 8 of us had to find our own way to God. But I too have to remember that my kids all have a God who is the God of the individual. They will find healing through Him alone! I’m so glad that God stops the generational flow of sin when we turn to Him and seek our fulfillment through Him alone!

I’ve had this post in my drafts for over a year now. It’s been a pandora’s box for me over the last year as I tried to work on it. But, as I open this box today, I feel peace. Peace that despite the things in my life, in my brothers’ and sisters’ lives, and in the lives of my kids that were affected by a negligent father….we’re going to be okay because God is bigger than any of our  sins and He’s the  great healer, Jehovah-Rapha, and He’s our Abba-Daddy. I am safe in His arms and so are my children and my brothers and sisters! Amen!

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13 Responses to Provoking to wrath…

  1. lammilee says:

    Vicky I loved everything you wrote! I have gone through the same thinking process and to the same conclusion, so I can totally relate in mind, body, emotion and spirit. Because this kind of repetitive cycling affects every part of us! Just have to share this because I think it could help many who have found themselves in this same position (and sadly, most have) but are left not knowing how to deal with it or untangle themselves from the wreckage. I love the way you express yourself and your illustrations and pics are great! So worthy of a publish! 🙂

    • Victoria says:

      Thank you, Sis! I know that you have gone through the same thing and that you also have come to the same conclusion. I think we would not have had to go through such turmoil in our thinking had things been different, but I also know that to continue to hang on to the “whys” and “what if’s” doesn’t allow us to find the healing to move on. There are some things that just don’t have answers when the behavior never changes. However, thank God that He is the God of the individual and He cares about us and even if we don’t have answers to the whys in our lives, we can rest in Him knowing that He loves us and can fulfill us! “The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zeph. 3:17)

      Thanks for sharing the post….I’m so glad that you have a relationship with God where you have found healing from all the earthly crap as well!! 🙂 Love you Sis!

      • lammilee says:

        Thanks Sis! And I am amazed right back at you and how you have come through it all! You are a strong, wise, gentle and compassionate woman, who is willing to make yourself vulnerable that you might find ultimate healing. We are all in the process of being healed, I think. I can say with everything in me that He has begun a work of deep and then deeper still healing in both of our lives, using us then as instruments of peace and healing in others. But I also know that our healing will continue til we go home. That’s just how faithful and loving He is toward us. ❤

    • Nancy says:

      Vicky, I was very touched by reading your story. I have watched God’s blessings on you and your siblings over the years…how you have stayed in touch, loved each other through all of the hurt and pain. God stepped in and took charge a long time ago and he is still at work in your family and in mine…. Your statement “Therefore, each individual person has the ability to have a blessed and wonderful future, regardless of their past circumstances, regardless of their current circumstances, and regardless of their future circumstances” and “God chose to use parents as His means for Godly children, but He can do the job with or without us” really touched me. God has worked and is still working now despite the hurt and pain in your past and mine. I never wanted to raise my kids on my own. I tried to do the best I could but it has taken its toll in so many different ways on me and my kids. Its never to late for parents to get it right with their adult children if they mean it, if they do it in a Godly sincere way. I still pray for that. It doesn’t mean there aren’t scars from the past but there is can be forgiveness. Love always, Nancy

      • Victoria says:

        Hi Nancy, I’m so glad you commented! I totally agree with you, there are still scars! And Satan likes to use those scars to remind us of how “worthless” we are. But when we listen to him that just blurs God’s truth which says that we are clothed in the righteousness of Christ (as believers) and therefore there is no condemnation. I believe that healing can come as well as forgiveness. You nor I ever wanted to have to raise our kids by ourselves and certainly in doing so, we made mistakes…but thanks God that He makes up for what we didn’t do right. I just wish that more fathers would own their responsibility before God to love and honor their kids and to “not provoke them to wrath”. If only they could see what a difference they could make in their families’ lives. I pray for our kids (the next generation of fathers and mothers) that they will see this responsibility way more clearly than our generation did and that they will step up to it (especially the fathers) and by doing so, they will avoid all the hurt and pain in their kids and their wive’s life. But, despite the scars that are left, we can find healing (not necessarily answers) through God! I love you,Nancy!

        • Victoria says:

          I also wanted to say that I’m sorry for all the pain that was caused in your life by my brother. It’s amazing how when we don’t find healing from our own pain that we just end up passing that pain on to those around us….even if they are our “loved ones”.

          I’m tired of running from as well as smoothing over the truth and love being able to walk in the freedom that the truth brings….

          • Nancy says:

            The Bible says that the sins of the fathers will be passed down from generation to generation….Your brother is a good man. He has a good heart and he meant to change the future. He was off to a good start having a house at 18 years old! He could have done it (and still could) with God’s help but that is his choice. It’s our free will. I am proud to say the Rob has stopped the madness. He is a good father, He is 100% committed to being a good Dad to his daughter. Our kids (through their relationship with God) and their loving Mom’s praying behind the scenes…..are changing the future. Thank you Lord. Love you too Vicky…..

      • lammilee says:

        I love what you have said here, Nancy and want you to know that you and Jen and Rob have always had a special place in my heart through all these years! They have both inherited the best of you and my brother. I am sorry for the pain that was caused in yours and their lives, and very thankful for your strong influence in them as well as answered prayers from you, me, Vicky and others for God to restore the years that the locusts have eaten! Love you lots, girl! You will always be considered my sister! ❤

    • mom2snoopy says:

      Very beautifully written, Vicki, and SO TRUE: I am glad that God’s love is sure!

  2. Victoria says:

    I agree with you, Nancy. My brother does have a good, kind heart. He could have changed the future (and still could) with God’s help. I’m so happy that Rob has stopped the madness! That’s the cool thing about walking with God…He takes all the buildup of generations of sin and makes it go away… so glad the future is being changed for our kids! Thanks Nancy! 🙂

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