Reflection on Ephesians 4:25-5:2 – Week of 12th August

As a mum to 3 primary school aged children, I can strongly relate to these verses… we are nearing the end of the school holidays and I feel I am saying hundreds of times a day –

“Don’t lie!”
“Play nicely!”
“Say sorry and give your sister a cuddle!”
“Stop shouting/hitting!”
And the all encompassing “Stop being annoying!”

As parents, my husband and I are aiming for a benevolent dictatorship – our children know exactly what is expected of them, and we run a fairly tight ship, but they also know that we love them unconditionally.

Similarly, in these verses Paul is explaining exactly what God expects from his people – we are to follow God’s example as his dearly loved children. Obviously, God allows us much more leeway than a dictatorship – we are asked in these verses not to grieve the Holy Spirit, but we are given free will to do as we please. Like parents who grieve the actions of a wayward child but still continue to love them, there is always hope for reconciliation and restoration with the Holy Spirit.

The reason for trying to do a good job of parenting (apart from the obvious that children without boundaries can be very annoying!) is that we love our children and want them to be happy now, and as adults. People who lie, steal, give in to anger, fight, be selfish, and otherwise grieve the Holy Spirit are not happy. True happiness and fulfillment comes from loving and serving others. Like a parent, Jesus loved us enough to teach us to how we should try to behave like him – for the benefit of our neighbours AND ourselves. 

Jane Gorman
Hobart North Uniting Church