It’s an Interesting Word!


Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt. 


The original meanings were to call forth, to challenge, to invoke or summon.  Somehow, the word has developed a negative connotation over the years.  We tend to think of being provoking as being irritating and annoying.  That’s not all it is.

In the Bible, the word is used both ways–negative and positive. The negative is in Ephesians 6:4, where Paul enjoins fathers not to provoke their children to wrath.  How is it possible to do that?  Oh, it’s actually not difficult. Be sarcastic. Humiliate them.  Criticize them without ever complimenting them.  Slap them around if they don’t shape up to your expectations.  Treat them as if they are a nuisance to you. They will become provoked.  They will be full of anger.  That doesn’t have to be the end result of rearing children, and it ought NOT to be.  I’m not saying here that every kid who goes wrong can put the blame on his father. We all make our own choices.  Still, we parents are not to irritate and aggravate our kids to the point of no return.


The positive sense of provoke is in Hebrews 10:23-25:

23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)

24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:

25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Part of the responsibility of the church family is to encourage, call forth,  challenge each other to love one another, and to be engaged in good and helpful ways of reaching out to others in the church who need some sort of assistance, as well as to people outside the church.  That kind of provoking is a good and necessary thing.

Since not all who read this post are interested in biblical nuances,  it is easy to make application  to all relationships:  Family, community, work.  We can provoke our neighbors to want us to put our homes up for sale,  or we can encourage them by our example to reach out to each other in friendship and community.  Either way,  we’re being provoking.




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