18 Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.
20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.
21 Fathers,[a] do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.
22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritancefrom the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
Relationships for the purpose of this blog post refers to relationships within a household. Ken and I have been married for 30 years. We met in our teens. We often say that we don’t just love each other, but we like and respect each other. Christ came into our lives at approximately the same time. We were in our early 30’s and we were proud parents of three beautiful children.
As we grew in our faith and learned about the above passage it made absolute sense to us. As Christians, God expects each of us to serve Him. This includes in the manner in which we treat one another. (James 4:7) Many people ask me how I submit to my husband, since I have such a fiery personality. I do not look at this command from God as a way to control me, but to show me how to love and respect my husband. Ken and I often disagree and I know that he respects my point of view enough to not just ignore me.
The same type of love and respect needs to happen with parents and children. Children are required to honor God and as parents we are asked to shepherd our kids without harshness. The point being that you want your child to gain a life skill from discipline, and not just resent the instruction.
I want to take a moment and further elaborate on my situation as a wife and mother. More specifically, I want to talk about when I lost most of my hearing and became less independent. I used to be able to go shopping with minimal assistance. I used to walk to and from the doctor’s office by myself. My hearing loss made it impossible to stay safe walking alone. I am still saddened and frustrated today by some of the reactions this brings out in people. I keep bringing my negative feelings to the throne of God and I pray others can better understand the circumstances.
One of the uncomfortable issues for both Ken and I is that many people just look at my disabilities and the “burden or pressure” that it puts on Ken. Many people put Ken on a pedestal and tell me that I don’t know what I have in Ken or they tell me that I do not know how fortunate I am to have Ken. Well, I do know how fortunate I am and I am thankful that Ken takes his love for me to the throne and helps me however he can. I know he also feels my pain in my loss of independence, but he does not show pity or frustration, but instead helps in a way that makes me feel love and validated! his behaviors show Christ’s love.
My kids were teenagers when this change in independence happened. Many people showed my kids pity, because their mom wasn’t there for them. My kids became confused and very resentful. They knew that my role might have changed in ways, but yet this didn’t mean I was less of a mom. I remember one of my sons mentioning that they spent more time criticizing me instead of just reaching out and asking me about my new way of living. I remember one day I needed something at the store and my son volunteered to go get it. I hesitated and he knew it was because I didn’t want people thinking I was using my son’s ability to drive inappropriately. He actually spoke up and told me that it didn’t matter what others thought. He reminded me that all of us were supposed to help around the house, and he hated cleaning, so he would like to go run to the store instead. His words have always stayed with me…that it doesn’t matter what others think, as long as we are serving Christ through our relationships.
It is my prayer for you that you can spend some time thinking about your specific relationships and how you serve Christ through them. What changes need to be made and what brings a smile to your face. Relationships are vital and will constantly be changing, but ultimately you deserve to be loved by a love like Christ’s.