Friday, March 18, 2016

Healthy Families (Colossians 3:18-21)

Today's scripture: Colossians 3:18-21

In these three verses, Paul gives some guidelines for healthy families. If Christian families followed them, I truly believe this world would be impacted greatly for God. The family is—or at least it should be—the foundation of society, and when families are healthy, so will society be.

Wives are to be subject to husbands. Oh, I know how controversial this is. I know some women will rise up and say, "I will not submit to my husband. I'm an independent woman, and I don't need to cater to his whims." I believe there is a huge misunderstanding about this whole issue. I wrote a short Bible study for a small group I used to lead. We were a sisterhood of women married to unbelieving spouses. In that study, I wrote that being submissive to is "being willing to be subject to something." I went on to say, "Did you catch that? To submit is an issue of willingness. I read recently that a wife-to-husband relationship is similar to a vice-president-to-president relationship. Certainly, a vice president is able to do as much (or perhaps more) than the president. They work together, often make decisions together. However, he willingly submits to the authority of the president because there needs to be one leader. In the same way, we wives contribute and have a voice, but there does have to be a final authority." As long as a husband doesn't ask his wife to go against biblical principles and is not a bully or abuser, we wives need to be willing to be subject to our husbands.

Then, Paul writes to husbands. Husbands are to love their wives. Elsewhere, Paul writes they are to love as Christ loves the church, and His love caused Him to lay down His very life for the ones He loves (Ephesians 5:25). In addition, husbands are not to be "embittered against" their wives. They should not antagonize or aggravate, disgruntle or estrange. They should, instead, love their wives with the tender love with which Christ loves them.

Next, Paul writes to children. Children are to be obedient to their parents. The first commandment that was written regarding how we're to interact with others is, "Honor your father and your mother" (Exodus 20:12). Honor means to "treat with admiration and respect" (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). Some might say, "But my parents mistreated or abused me. How can I honor them?"

This leads us to the final exhortation: Parents aren't to "
exasperate [their] children." Exasperate means to "excite the anger of; to cause irritation or annoyance to" (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). Parents should raise their children with discipline, certainly, but also with love, nurturing, caring, gentleness, and kindness.

If wives willingly subjected themselves to the godly guidance of their husbands, if husbands loved their wives with devotion and Christ-like love, and if children obeyed their parents who raised them with love and caring, imagine how healthy families would be.

Imagine how healthy society would be.

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