Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: This is one of the only lessons I have heard of or read about that deals specifically with the meaning of exasperation.



OPEN: Have You Ever Been Frustrated?

Consider this story told by Bernard L. Brown, Jr., president of the Kennestone Regional Health Care System in the state of Georgia. Brown once worked in a hospital where a patient knocked over a cup of water, which spilled on the floor beside the patient’s bed.

The patient was afraid he might slip on the water if he got out of the bed, so he asked a nurse’s aide to mop it up. The patient didn’t know it, but the hospital policy said that small spills were the responsibility of the nurse’s aides while large spills were to be mopped up by the hospital’s housekeeping group. The nurse’s aide decided the spill was a large one and she called the housekeeping department. A housekeeper arrived and declared the spill a small one. An argument followed. "It’s not my responsibility," said the nurse’s aide, "because it’s a large puddle." The housekeeper did not agree. "Well, it’s not mine," she said, "the puddle is too small."

The exasperated patient listened for a time, then took a pitcher of water from his night table and poured the whole thing on the floor. "Is that a big enough puddle now for you two to decide?" he asked. It was, and that was the end of the argument.


Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.


Well, first off, this is tougher to discover than I thought it would be. What do I mean? Well, since I have never ever done a lesson on this topic, AND I have never ever heard a lesson done on this topic, I did some research. So I went to sermoncentral.com, which is a great place to look up sermon topics.

It has 120,000 sermons…but 0 on “what does it mean to exasperate your child.”

So I went to gotquestions.org, checked into that, and you know what I found out?

In 305,000 Bible questions answered…still 0.

So this topic is going to be tougher to cover than you think.


According to Bible Q&A, John MacArthur states that parents, not just dads, can exasperate their child in any number of ways. Listed below is some specific examples detailed deliberately off of his radio show.

Bible Q&A with John MacArthur.

Absence of Love.

Never listening to your child.

Live your own fantasies through your child

Unfair pressures on your child to perform.

Set child up for failure by unreasonable expectations.

Unfair discipline.

Harshness, abuse.

Trying to make your child into some type of star so the light will shine brighter on you.

You could go on and on and on.

EXASPERATE=PROVOKE. Meaning, to exasperate is the deliberate attempt to provoke your child into a fight, an argument, into a hole that force combat to get out of, to put a wedge between divorced parents, to split love away from Mom towards Dad or vice versa, anything that causes division. If we are honest, we would have to admit that this happens to ALL DADS, hopefully by accident. But it should be something that we try to avoid.

Definition of Provoke:

verb (used with object)

1. to irritate or provoke to a high degree; annoy extremely: He was exasperated by the senseless delays.

2. Archaic . to increase the intensity or violence of (disease, pain, feelings, etc.).

Bodyguard Story with Tackleberry: When I wore a younger man’s clothes, back in my college days, when I was a lean and mean college football players, I spent my summers working security for various places in and around Milwaukee. One night I was given a specific partner who we had nicknamed Tackleberry (which was a reference to a crazy character off of a movie series called Police Academy, he was crazy), and so was this guy. One time, he and I were dealing with a guy, escorting him out of the park, and for this entire 10 minute walk, Tack just shouted and yelled and hollered and intimidated this guy to a point past frustration. Later on our way back to our duty place, a rock was thrown from the parking lot that just missed Tack’s face, things got interesting after that. But, my point is that Tackleberry exasperated this guy beyond imagination.

For clarification purposes, here is the similar verse to the one were using, from just about every translation imaginable (my point here is to teach the words similar to exasperate for clarification purposes).


New International Version (©1984)

Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.

New Living Translation (©2007) Fathers, do not aggravate your children, or they will become discouraged.

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