Tag Archives: Relationships

Colossians: Changing Our Relationships Patterns

Parents-FIGHTPublic reading: Colossians 3:16-4:3

An audio recording of this teaching can be found here.

  • I spend a lot of time in prayer and research about this passage
  • The sad history is that this passage has been use and abuse in some very cruel ways over the years
  • People have used the verses as a weapon
    • Hurting wives and women
    • Children
  • They were used before and during the Civil War as justification of slavery
    • You cannot simply replace the slaves/master language with employee/employer
    • Slavery was real then and now
  • If you are going to read the parts about husbands and wives, fathers and children as a divine rule for family life
    • Then you have to say that slavery is a divine rule
    • To be consist in your reading of the Scriptures
  • As you can imagine, this can cause problems as we, hopefully, all recognize that slavery is not something Jesus or God wants or designed
    • It is a product of our pride, greed and evil
  • So there must be another way to read these verses
    • A way that stay true to the Scripture
    • And true to the heart of God as reviled in and through Jesus
  • When reading the Bible, I believe there are three very, very important lens that we must look through
  • Jesus
  • Jesus is God relived to us
  • So when we have problems understanding what the Scriptures are saying, we look to the life, ministry and character of Jesus
  • If our interruption of Scriptures does not match that of the life and character of Jesus, we MUST rethink that passage!
  • The Trajectory of the Scriptures
  • What has God been doing throughout history?
  • What has been His focus?
  • What is the overarching theme of the Scriptures?
  • The Context of the Scriptures
  • St. Paul did not write Colossians in isolation; as such, we must ask ourselves what was happening in the Roman Empire during this time
The Passage at Hand
  • I’m going to re-read this passage in the Kingdom New Testament

Let the King’s word dwell richly among you, as you teach and exhort one another in all wisdom, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God with grateful hearts. And whatever you do, in word or action, do everything in the name of the Master, Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the father.

Now a word for wives: you should be subject to your husbands. This is appropriate in the Lord. And for husbands: you should treat your wives with love, and not be bitter with them. And for children: obey your parents in everything; this pleases the Lord. And for fathers: don’t provoke your children to anger; otherwise they might lose heart.

A word, too, for slaves: obey your earthly masters in everything. Don’t do it simply out of show, to curry favor with human beings, but wholeheartedly, because you fear the Master. Whatever you do, give it your very best, as if you were working for the Master and not for human beings. After all, you know that you’re going to receive the true inheritance from the Master as your reward! It is the Master, the King, that you are serving. Anyone who does wrong will be paid back for wrongdoing, and there will be no favorites.

And a word for master: do what is just and fair for your slaves. Remember that you too have a Master – in heaven.

Devote yourselves to prayer; keep alert in it, with thanksgiving. While you’re about it, pray for us, too, that God will open in front of us a door for the word, so that we may speak of the mystery of the King – which is why I’m here in chains.

Continue reading Colossians: Changing Our Relationships Patterns

Relationship Advice From Bonhoeffer

Dietrich BonhoefferI was struck by the other day by the following paragraphs from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s book “Life Together”

“Because Christ has long since acted decisively for my brother, before I could begin to act, I must leave him his freedom to be Christ’s; I must meet him only as the person that he already is in Christ’s eyes. This is the meaning of the proposition that we can meet others only though the mediation of Christ. Human love constructs its own image of the other person, of what he is and what he should become, it takes the life of the other person into its own hands. Spiritual love recognizes the true image of the other person which he has received from Jesus Christ; the image that Jesus Christ himself embodied and would stamp upon all men.

“Therefore, spiritual love proves itself in that everything is says and does commends Christ. It will not seek to move others by all too personal, direct influence, by impure interference it the life of another. It will not take pleasure in pious, human fervor and excitement. It will rather meet the other person with the clear World of God and be ready to leave him alone with this Word for a long time, willing to release him again in order that Christ may deal with him. It will respect the line that has been drawn between him and us by Christ, and it will find full fellowship with him in the Christ who alone binds us together. Thus this spiritual love will speak to Christ about a brother more than a brother about Christ. It knows that the most direct way to others is always through prayer to Christ and that love of others is wholly dependent upon the truth in Christ.” (underline added)

To be willing to leave people with the Words of the Scriptures and let the Holy Spirit work on them….wow, what a powerful concept! All to often we, out of our love and concern for them, try to force people to change their lives. Only, as Bonhoeffer says, this is “human love” and not “spiritual love”, which, instead of trying to change people, allows the Spirit of God to work in the lives of people for however long He wants to.

Good words and are hard to walk out day to day for it requires self-control and a solid trusting foundation that Jesus knows what He is doing, even when we don’t have a clue. Yeah…good advice Bonhoeffer. good advice… now to walk it out…