Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them. Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.
Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality. ~ Colossians 3:18-25
Big Family 1 by Peter Kaminski, on Flickr
Ah. The family order. Some resent this passage and others see the freedom that lies within it. I’ve been on both sides.
In fact, I have been a child, am a wife, and currently am also a bondservant (modern day worker).
This world has order in it. Why do we presume any authority is bad or for our harm?
In fact, though I enjoy being spontaneous, it is order that gives me comfort and freedom. How so? If you make plans, then you are prepared – prepared enough to deviate. Those plans could be around an event, financial, or chore-related. Planning and spontaneity are not mutually exclusive just like love and submission are not.
Submit is a hard word for many women these days to stomach, yet utter and apply. Women often picture some outlandish “Stepford Wife” scenario or think of cultish behavior. (My standard disclaimer about physical abuse goes here. Run away. Call the police. Go to a women’s shelter.)
I was married at 20. Did I mention I was a feminist? Yes, some of that extreme thinking has had to be moderated a bit. I’ve written frequently about marriage from my perspective.
Though I am a strong woman, a leader in many areas, I have learned to submit to my husband and guess what? He supports me 100%. Dare I say he encourages me to become even more of a leader? I am proud that he spurs me on to love and good deeds. I have him read every one of these posts before I publish.
I’d also like to point out the word “own.” It says to submit to your “own husband.” By pure logic, you can surmise that women aren’t generically to submit to men, just their “own husband.”
Husbands / Fathers
“Love and do not be bitter.” Wow. That’s a heart issue and is a much greater challenge than submission. What a telling thing it is that husbands have to be commanded to love their wives. This love is action-based, not feeling based. Look at the actions described in 1 Cor 13 below:
“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. ~ 1 Corinthinans 13:4-7
Fathers are also told not to provoke their children. Have you seen provocative behavior? Harsh or unfair treatment? Unrealistic expectations? Withholding of affection or words of love and encouragement? I can see all of that as discouraging behavior. Continue reading