“We loved you so much.” 1Th 2:8 NIV
The example of a godly lifestyle. “You are witnesses, and so is God, of how…we were among you” (1Th 2:10 NIV). Paul’s audience could judge his claims because they witnessed his lifestyle. Dad, you can “talk the talk” if there’s no audience, but you can only “talk what you walk” if there is. And at home, there is always an audience. If you’re not consistent there, they won’t buy it. Demonstrating a godly lifestyle requires two qualities: (a) Honesty. Your kids don’t need perfect parents, they need honest ones. If you’re wrong, admit it. Many kids never hear a parent say, “I’m sorry, I was wrong.” So they either perceive honesty and humility as weakness, or their parents as inconsistent. Either sets them up for a life of arrogance and trouble. (b) Being positive. Surveys show that most parents’ feedback to their kids runs ten-to-one negative. “You’ll never amount to…Why do you always?…You never use your head.” Statistically, fathers are more apt to make such statements. Dad, shift the balance to the positive! How did Paul do it? “We dealt with each of you as a father deals…encouraging, comforting and urging you” (vv.11-12). It takes encouragement: inspiring, strengthening and stretching them to realize their potential. It takes comfort: life’s tough; boost their spirit, don’t break it. It takes urging: developing their perseverance by saying, “Don’t quit, you can do it!” Did it work for Paul? Yes! “You received the word of God…from us…which is at work in you” (v.13). Will it work for you and your kids? Yes!
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