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Put on the New Self (v. 1-17)
This entire section is fairly interesting as I pretty much put the entire thing in both the good and bad category, depending on the perspective. On one hand, the verses give lists of things that we should and shouldn't do, I like the "do list" and I am about 50/50 on the "don't list". If everyone followed these lists, it would be a good thing. Quickly, the lists (as far as I approve of them) are as follows:
the don't list (the part I like): anger, wrath, malice, slander, lying
the do list: compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, bearing with one another, forgiveness, love, peace.
So these lists seem pretty good, and generally seem like good advice. The problem is that it gives credit for all of the good things to God and rejects all of the bad things as "earthly". This sends the message that We are good and They are bad. It sets people up to hate those who are not like themselves. It sends the message that those who are not in our group are wiked. This is a terrible message.
I have another comment about the "do list". There are a few things on the list that are good rules of thumb, but will set you up to be taken advantage of if overdone. Humility and meekness are great sometimes, but assertiveness is also important when appropriate. Forgiveness is good, but if someone keeps harming you in some way, forgiveness is perhaps a bad idea until they give you reason to think they will change their future actions. As often happens with lists like this, they are good rules of thumb but don't apply to every situation.
And finally, what about the part of the "don't list" that I don't like, it is as follows: sexual immorality, impurity, desire, covetousness. Like it or not we are sexual beings, denying that leads to bad things. Sexual repression is huge in the religious sphere and I would argue it has dire consequences. And covetousness can motivate us to act, haven't you ever wanted something someone else had and used it as motivation to work hard and get one of your own?
Now I have to condense all of that for the overview post...I'll do my best.
Rules for Christian Households (v. 18-4:1)
I think this section demonstrates pretty easily that the morality of this book is just a reflection of the time and not a timeless expression of perfect morality from a perfect God.
Wives submit to your husband, husbands love your wives.
Children, obey your parents no matter what
What if the parents are abusive?
Slaves, obey your masters earnestly, not just enough to get by
Shouldn't perfect morality from a perfect being not allow slavery?
Don't worry about men, focus on God. You will get your reward in heaven, wrongdoers will get what is coming to them.
Shouldn't we want there to be justice here as well?
Masters, treat your slaves well because we have a master in heaven.
So we are slaves to God?
For the overview post (If you think I should add or remove stuff from this list please let me know, I think it would make good conversation)
3:12-15 Do good things (compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, bearing with one another, forgiveness, love, peace)
3:5 Sexual repression
"Put to death therefore what is earthly in you:sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry."
3:7 attribute negative attributes on non-christians (probably best viewed in context)
"In these you too once walked, when you were living in them."
3:18 misogynist garbage
"Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord"
3:20 Obey your parent no matter what
"Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord."
3:22 approves of slavery
"Slaves, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord."
4:1 We are slaves of God
"Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven."