Colossians 3:18 "Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them.
20 Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord.
21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.
22 Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. 23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. 25 But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality."
Paul appears to take a detour in his letter here but does he? Husbands/wives, parents/children, masters/slaves - all are relationships of living and/or working together. These are the hardest relationships because there is no faking and nowhere to hide. These are the people who really know you. These are the people who know if your religion is outward forms and customs or legit heart work. These are the people who know if you just talk Jesus or actually live your faith.
What is the message for these relationships? Love and respect each other. Never use your position to exercise control or anything of the sort over another. If ever there was a man who had the intelligence to manipulate or the power to force and control it was Jesus. Did He?
This is what Paul’s letter is about. The gospel is Jesus alone and Jesus is the gospel. This is not some trite Christian mantra. It's not a T-shirt slogan or a Tattoo to ink onto your arm. Jesus was the real deal. Every woman was safe and respected and valued in His presence. Every child was safe and given worth and love in His presence. Every person who followed Him as a disciple/servant and called Him Master was not just safe from abuse but privileged and grown and benefitted by the experience.
Paul ends his counsel by saying essentially "Be like Jesus and do what Jesus would do regardless of the situation you are in. Be true to the Lord and treat others as if they are Jesus no matter if they deserve it or not because 'while we were still sinners Jesus died for us'".
To this counsel we recoil and say "It's too hard! It's not fair!"
The truth is being like Jesus is not hard, it is impossible. It is contrary to a nature. That is why Paul spent so long making the point for how we truly follow Jesus. "Let Him in. Let His Word restore and reshape your soul". Jesus in = Jesus out.
Our personal relationships where nerves rub raw and real life happens are the place where we discover how unlike Him we are and how much we need Him. Fill your glass again today. He's more than able and His work is out of this world. Start again - Today.