On Relationships

Fathers, don’t discourage your kids, or as Paul puts it, “Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged” (Col. 3:21). What this verse assumes is that fathers, who are the leaders in the home, are providing discipline for their children. And it is essential that you discipline your children. (Unfortunately, this needs to be emphasized in our modern culture.) When my boys were little I asked a mentor, “How old do your kids have to be for you to discipline them?” 

Children, obey and honor your parents. This pleases the Lord. When I am talking to kids in our church, I often like to ask them this question:  “What’s the secret to a good life and a long life?” Sometimes they get the answer right, and sometimes they don’t. But usually when I say this verse, they catch on:

Husbands, love your wives and be gentle! The Greek text literally reads, “Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.”  The Greek word translated as “do not be harsh” can also be translated as “do not make them cry!”  Now, your wife is going to cry some (maybe even a lot). I get that. And part of being gentle with her is letting her do that without trying to fix the problem. (Took me a long time to learn that.) 

Wives, follow your husband’s leadership. This is fitting in the Lord. This is really controversial in modern Western society. So let me first make clear what IS NOT being said or implied. First, the call to submit does not mean that husbands are perfect. My wife would assure you that I am not. I’ve had some dumb ideas and done some stupid things. I’m thankful for God’s grace in my life!

Whatever the makeup of your household, even if you are single, widowed or divorced, or have no children, there is something for you this week. What ties all of these verses together is the fact that Scripture calls us to please the Lord in all of life. Look at the verse that comes immediately before this week’s passage:  “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord…” (Colossians 3:17). That applies to every one of us! he has given us unconditional love and salvation, and we want to please him like the loving Father and loyal friend that he is! It’s sort of like the dedication at the front of a book. This life is dedicated to Christ, who died for me and to whom I am entirely devoted.