Text: 1 Samuel 17:21-28
Memory verse:
”When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.“
‭‭I Corinthians‬ ‭13‬:‭11‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Every parent recognizes how tough it is to exercise their God-given authority over their children without the help of God. I am talking about the balance between firmness and tenderness. In trying to avoid the tendency of being an authoritarian parent, some parents have become so permissive and indulging.
In Sunday’s edition of the Grace Devotional, I shared the story of Benjamin West, who became one of the most celebrated artists of his day. He recalled how he was just trying to be a good babysitter for his little sister Sally while his mother was out. Benjamin found some bottles of colored ink and proceeded to paint Sally’s portrait. But by the time his mother returned, ink blots stained the table, chairs, and floor. Benjamin’s mother surveyed the mess without a word until she saw the picture. Picking it up, she exclaimed, “Why, it’s Sally!” And she bent down and kissed her young son. Benjamin said, “My mother’s kiss made me a painter.” Her encouragement did far more than any criticism could ever have done.
One of the ways parents provoke their children to wrath is through criticism or fault-finding, just as Eliab unfairly did to David in our text. Criticism and correction are two opposite actions. Unlike correction, criticism focuses more on judging a child than on helping him or her. In correction, you inform a child of an error he or she has made and explain why such behaviour isn’t productive. For example, spanking a child for running around during a church service and then explaining why such behaviour doesn’t glorify God or is not praiseworthy is correction. But condemning such action without explaining the reason for the disapproval is criticism. Some parents and adults criticize teenagers and youths on their dressing without patiently teaching them why they shouldn’t adopt such attitude. Parents shouldn’t forget that children aren’t adults!
Friends, always finding fault, condemning and threatening without patiently providing adequate guidance is criticism and may lead to the withdrawal of the child and even to resent the faith of their parents.
In addition, a child who lives with criticism does not learn responsibility. He loses self-confidence and lives in self-condemnation and distrust. He also lives with continual expectations of impending doom.

Prayer points
1. Father, please give wisdom to all parents on how to love and correct their children without criticizing them in Jesus’ name.
2. Father, please encourage everyone who is discouraged or embittered as a result of parents’ provocation in Jesus’ name.

Today’s declarations
1. God wants parents to correct their children but not to criticize them.
2. True parents are not authoritarians or permissive but authoritative in child rearing.