The sixth chapter of Ephesians talks about the relationships between children and their parents, and slaves and their masters.
Verse 1 says, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.”
Verse 2 says, “Honor your father and mother - which is the first commandment with a promise - that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”
It seems simple and clear to me that we should obey our parents as children and honor them as we get older. However, disobedience and dishonor of parents goes back to Biblical times, and we need to take this call to honor our parents seriously. God meant it so seriously that we are promised a long life on earth for our obedience and honor to our parents.
Verse 4 tells us, “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
Before I turned my life around, and my children were small, my son and I had the tendency to “exasperate” each other. (I know this verse says “Fathers”, but I feel it equally important for mothers to follow this rule.) I, as the mother, should have prevented our relationship from going there. It wasn’t until I became a Christian that I realized my error and worked to make the necessary changes in my relationship with my son. I still struggled at times but had the grace and mercy of God to help me through it.
Verses 5-9 talk about slaves and masters. Thankfully, slaves no longer exist in our society. The advice from these verses, though, could be wisely used in an employment situation.
If slaves were called to treat their masters with “respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ,” why shouldn’t we apply this to those we work under? Verse 7 and 8 say, “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free.” This would even apply to people you may volunteer under and to all the work you do at your church.
Many people have terrible attitudes about their work and their bosses. Granted, your boss doesn’t “own you” (although it may sometimes feel as if they do). If we followed the advice of these verses as they pertain to the work situation, the job atmosphere would be much more pleasant. Masters (or bosses) are also called to treat their slaves (employees) in the same way.
I know we don’t live in a perfect world. You may have a boss who operates opposite to these values. Maybe if you changed your thinking to obey them as you would Christ, things might turn around. Adding just a little bit of love and respect to any relationship can make a huge difference and bring about positive changes.