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I was talking with an acquaintance a while back.  She had been trying to contact her son by phone that day, but was a bit frustrated that she was unable to do so.  She told me how her son often wouldn't answer the phone, and that he would never voluntarily call her.  So I prayed, and literally minutes later he called her.  Great, right?  Well...  When she picked up the phone, she immediately began complaining about how he never calls her, as well as a number of other things, even though he just called.  Surprised by her behavior I said to her, "Your son finally calls you, and now you're berating him?"  She laughed -- yes, laughed -- and said, "Yeah I know!" and continued on.  In getting to know this lady, it was obvious that her son's behavior was related to how she treated him.  But, unfortunately, this isn't an isolated incident.  I can't count the number of times I've seen children nitpicked or badgered by their own parents, only for the parent to mask their own ill behavior as discipline, or righteous correction.  The fact is, this is a form of abuse, and it can play a significant role in driving our children away -- not just away from us, but from God.  Then, when approached by those with smooth talk and flattery, many will remember how they were treated badly, and threatened to obey their parents "because of God."  (Ephesians 6:1-3)  Yet, oddly, these parents never seem to read just one passage further down the page.  Ephesians 6:4 (NLT) Fathers, (or parents) do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. ...  Children are not our property to do with as we please -- they belong to God.  We cannot treat them callously, thoughtlessly, or without restraint, without both child and parent reaping the consequences.

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