Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
18 Wives, submit 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, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. 22 Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. 25 For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality. – Colossians 3:12-25 [ESV]
We’re celebrating 47 years today. Forty-seven years of grace, love, forgiveness, learning, struggling, praying, repenting, rejoicing, and thankfulness in the grace and faithfulness of God. Make no mistake – and I say this to acknowledge how true this must be for Diane – marriage is hard work. Love is not always easy. Great amounts of grace and forgiveness are needed.
But there are also those happy days of joy and delight. Moments in the kitchen as we cook dinner, and have an impromptu hug intermission. Moments in the mountains of Colorado in the summertime. Moments of pure delight in connecting with our grandchildren. Happy moments on the back patio when the weather permits for morning devotions (something we still do separately; we’re wired differently in that area), or a clink time glass of wine. The delight of great music at the symphony. Moments of great appreciation as I’ve been the recipient of Diane’s prayers when I’m sick. Joyful moments when we’re just enjoying life together.
Now about that wives submit and husbands love part of this passage. Remember it doesn’t say here, “Make sure your wife submits to you.” It says, “Husbands love your wives.” And it doesn’t say, “See to it that your husbands love you.” It says, “Submit to your husbands.”
I like to point out to young couples who are getting ready to be married that most guys would take a bullet or stand in the way of someone who would threaten his fiancé. What about the smaller sacrifices of love? Listening to her when she just wants to talk, or helping with the laundry, or washing the dishes?
And when it comes to submission, if you take apart the word sub-mission, you might think of it as being under the mission of the husband. And true submission puts you under the husband’s submission to God. To “submit” to something outside the will of God is not submission. That’s compliance. And the Bible does not call for compliance.
We’ve had our share of questions and discussions of just how this actually works between the two of us. But the greatest moment in the midst of one of those discussions occurred when I decided to take the next words of Diane as from a pure heart, filled with love and desiring good for us both. The discussion evaporated in a fleeting moment. Two broken people found delight in each other once again.
That’s when the first part of this passage showed itself to be vitally important to us both:
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
Happy Anniversary Diane! I love you, and thank God for these 47 years. And I thank God for you. And I thank you for your love and grace toward me!