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Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.
Up to this point, Paul has talked about how to live the Christian life. None of his points were laws or rules, but characteristics of a response to Jesus Christ saving us. If we took any of his points and turned them into rules about kindness or excellence, we’d be like Pharisees that had missed the glory of God.
That’s why it already sets us on a bad course if you have a subtitle in your Bible that says ‘rules for Christian households.’ Some people read this section that way and it’s no wonder it leaves a bad taste in their mouths. Instead, read this section in the context of the last 2 chapters. “The Lord has forgiven you…all the fullness of deity lives in Him and He is in you” so let’s relate to one another in accordance with those truths.
Note the way in which to do this: “Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.” It’s all about showing your husband how to be a Christian. How is it fitting for any of us to submit to one another? How is it appropriate for Christians to show love to other people in the body of Christ? When we submit to one another, we are trusting, confident, respectful, boldly steadfast, and faithful. When you look at a list like that, what man could lose with a woman like that behind him!? Our tendency is to read that passage negative like the man is going to abuse it, but what if we read it positive and considered what kinds of men would be made by such women?
Again, in your loving, there is a specific directive to not be harsh. Harsh is just about the easiest default setting to be. Not controlling our words, not considering how we come across, but just talking is where harshness comes from. As soon as we watch out for being harsh, we pay attention to the way we talk and the way we’ll be received. As we show off Christ to our
All of these interactions as workers, spouses, friends, and people, overflow from our perception and faith in Jesus. These things might please people, but ultimately they please the Lord of Lords even more. As we set our minds on Him, allow Him to change our reactions. Let the peace of God rule in your hearts and reverse the harsh, disrespectful ways that we might talk to each other and speak to each other in heavenly ways. That is God’s path and His goal all at once, and He’ll accomplish it