Scripture Reading: Colossians 3:18-21
“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.” (Colossians 3:18-21)
Paul has been dealing with the implications of the gospel for relationships. Relationships are complex because all human beings are sinners. We often put ourselves first and we easily become self-centered and self-righteous. But, we must remember these words — “And above all these put on love which binds everything together in perfect harmony” (v. 14). It is the love of Christ that binds us together and enables us to work through conflict. The love of Christ must control us (II Corinthians 5:14) in order for us to have healthy relationships. Remember that love covers a multitude of sins (I Peter 4:8) . It is helpful for us to read regularly God’s definition of love found in I Corinthians 13 — “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails” (I Corinthians 13:4-8a).
The most basic human relationships take place in the family. God ordained marriage as the primary social institution. Marriage is interwoven into the very fabric of creation (Genesis 2:18-25). God has given specific instructions to husbands, wives and children. Gospel principles must be applied to family relationships. This includes experiencing the love of Christ ourselves, which enables us to extend His love to others. Love for Christ and for others becomes the major motivator to follow God’s instructions about family relationships.
Christ’s love enables wives to be submissive to their husbands. Christ’s love enables husbands to love their wives and not to be harsh with them. Christ’s love motivates children to obey their parents. And His love enables parents not to provoke their children but rather to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Remember that love binds everything together in perfect harmony (v. 14).
Lord Jesus, thank You for Your unconditional, sacrificial and unending love. Give me the ability to love my family with the love that You have for me. Forgive me when I fail to love them. Forgive me when I become more concerned about myself than I am about my family. Give me the ability to learn how to love others with the love You have defined for us in I Corinthians 13.
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