Few things in life shape us more than our relationships as parent and child. We can look back on our childhood and appreciate just how important our parents were in forming our worldview. We can also look at our own children and feel the weight of our responsibility to nurture and guide them. These relationships are the source of our greatest joys and our greatest heartbreak. We have already read about how we are meant to live a life that is dedicated to “submitting to one another out of reverence for Jesus”. In our role as a child, God calls us to obey our parents during the time that we spend as part of their household and to honor them for our entire lives. He tells us that this will set a beautiful power in motion in our lives that will help us to be established and unshakeable (v. 3). In our role as a parent, God calls us to use our authority to point our children to the Lord so that they see Him accurately and understand Him. When Paul says that fathers shouldn’t “provoke their children to anger” (v. 4), he is warning that it is possible for parents to be abusive, inconsistent, or manipulative in the way that they exercise their authority. That can lead a child to despair that there is no way to ever be truly loved or accepted by his parents. That is a genuine tragedy. We want our children to know how exacting God’s moral demands are, but we also want them to know how abundant His love is as well. As the Lord has been patient with us, so let us be patient with our children.