We read Colossians 3 today in our Sunday morning worship service this week. It is full of imperatives that flow from the believer’s relationship to Christ. Colossians repeatedly emphasizes our union with Christ but it also calls us to some high ethical demands that flow from this union.
Like Ephesians 5, Colossians 3 is full of relational commands including those within families. I found verse 19 particularly noteworthy as we read today because it addresses me as a husband and warns me not to be harsh with my wife or as some versions read “to be bitter” toward her.
William Boekestein writes a short piece on this command:
“Bitterness is the most sensitive of the tastes, and most of us find it harsh, unpleasant, and disagreeable. Case in point: Unsweetened cocoa. Do you remember the first time you discovered the shockingly harsh taste of unsweetened cocoa? It blows the mind of young children that anything bearing the brown Hershey label could taste so bad! You never find children sneaking cocoa…more than once.
Identifying relational bitterness is not as simple as a taste test. A harsh or bitter man will rarely admit it. He will call himself firm, melancholy, sober, principled or any number of pseudonyms for bitter. Here’s the reality: Most men treat their wives’ harshly. If men did not struggle with harshness God would not waste his time commanding against it. Unless you have been sanctified beyond the norm you regularly sin against your wife by bitterness.”
Read more of “Husbands: A Warning Against Bitterness”