Monday, June 27, 2011

Don't Be a Tattle-Tale! (Ephesians 5:22-6:9)

The age-old human tendency towards seeking religion rather than relationship is evidenced in the “tattle-tale” approach to life. There are always those (and most of us fit into this category at one point or another) who would rather focus on others, and all the things they are doing wrong, than on their own shortcomings or responsibilities. Jesus warned his followers away from this religious tendency when He told them they should look for planks in their own before they attempt to remove specks from others’ eyes.

One area of Christianity where the religious over relationship approach is most evident is in the way people interpret/apply the “household rules.” Found in both Ephesians and Colossians, Paul instructs believers in the way that a life of love should express itself in the family circle.

The religious reading of these texts is the one where the reader focuses on the aspects that do not pertain to their role. For example, the man who calls for his wife to submit to him instead of realizing that he should love her, or worse, the man who misinterprets the passage completely and calls on all women to submit to all men in general. From some readings of these texts you would think they are exclusively about wives and kids.

The only thing that an individual can do to improve their family life is to focus on improving the one thing they have any power to change: their own role. So, the general approach to reading these passages should be to look for where the passage addresses the reader directly; for example, husbands should concern themselves more with what they are instructed to do than what their wives should be doing and vice-verse.

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