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 embitter your children, or they will become discouraged. (Colossians 3:18-21, NIV)
This is one of those household passages for which the Apostle Paul is famous. In his most well-known discussion of the home (Eph. 5), it comes in the context of being filled with the Spirit. This passage about the home, you may recall, comes in the context of holy living. Remember? Take off anger, malice, rage…put on compassion, kindness, humility. If we do these things, we can live in peace, find direction from God’s word…and above all, we will walk in gratefulness for God’s goodness to us.
But don’t read this and think that Paul is just talking about church-life. It is quite easy and natural for him to make the transition from holy living to the home. Husbands and fathers should take off anger, malice, rage…put on compassion, kindness, humility. So should wives and mothers. So should kids.
Home on the range – where seldom is heard a discouraging word and the skies are always sunny. Sound like your home? Most American homes are filled with discouragement and storm clouds.
Think of it this way: Home should be our sanctuary. You get beat up every day when you go “out into the world.” When you go to work, when you pay your bills, when you finally catch up and something breaks, when you watch the news. People and institutions you once trusted now don’t seem as trustworthy. It keeps us on edge, uneasy. People “out there” won’t think twice about getting ahead at your expense.
When you walk into your home, it should come with a sigh of relief. You’ve survived another day “out there” – now you’re with your people. Home should be the place where we are loved MOST, encouraged most, treated the best. Instead of being beat up, we should be built up.
That’s the home Paul’s describing. And everyone in that home, from father to mother to child, has a role to play. If that’s the home you want, he tells us how in verse 3: Die to yourself (stop putting your own desires first) and let the life of Jesus live through you (put his desires first). That doesn’t guarantee you won’t have battles to face “out there,” but you won’t face them alone!