This piece was a gift to our family but I have no memory of who or when or where. It hangs in my kitchen near the wall that features photos of my three sons and me.
It reads: “A Family Prayer Lord, bless our family with openness to real communication, with sharing in all our joys and sorrows, with freedom to let each other grow, with understanding for the gifts each of has to give and of course, with love no matter what, no matter when. Author Unknown”
This passage from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is controversial to many people. In our interpersonal relationships today we do not like to use words like “submit” or “obey.” We want to be free to do whatever we think is best for ourselves. But I think the key to what Paul is trying to say is verse 25 in chapter 5: “A husband should love his wife as much as Christ loved the church and gave his life for it.”
The love of Christ in a family changes everything. It changes the way each member relates to each of the others and to the whole. The love of Christ changes how a family interacts with people who are not part of the family and people who are part of their extended family. Notice that Paul reminds us that the love of Christ is a self-sacrificing love: agape is the Greek word for this kind of love.
This kind of love enables us to submit and obey appropriately to each other and to God.
Paul uses two examples of how we are to relate to each other with love. The first and dominate example is the relationship between Jesus and his church. Jesus is the head and Savior of the church but Jesus also sacrificed himself for the sake of the church. The second example is how we relate to our own bodies. If we love ourselves then we take care of our bodies and make sure that our bodies have what they need to be well – just like Jesus takes care of his body, the church.
Pray for your family, it will make a difference.