The NT has a particular warning for husbands. That warning is expressed by Paul in Col. 3:19, when he admonishes, â€œHusbands, love your wives, & be not bitter against them.â€ Modern translations render this phrase as â€œdo not be harsh with them,â€ which is true enough. But translating it that way changes our perception of where the sin lies.
In our modern age, a husband telling his wife she may not do â€œthus and suchâ€ could be viewed as harsh, while a husband not objecting to his wife getting an abortion is considered being an understanding husband. But the Apostle is far less concerned in this verse with the actions of the husband than he is with the condition of the husbandâ€™s heart.
A husband can grow bitter toward his wife, and if he allows that bitterness to fester it can eventually become evident through harsh actions, demeaning words, or violent behavior. He may begin to have a wandering eye, or he might withdraw into a cold shell of indifference, or he might explode with violent anger. Those actions are the poisoned fruits which arise from the bitter root.
The bitterness might arise because the husband tried to lead and the wife didnâ€™t follow, or it could arise because heâ€™s an insecure puppy and his wife didnâ€™t like his Facebook post, or it could arise because she gossiped about him to all her friends. Nevertheless, whatever precipitated the bitterness, itâ€™s a husbandâ€™s duty to root up that weed as soon as he sees it appear. From that root arises adultery, murder, divorce, and abandoned children.
Bitter husbands invert the atmosphere of their home. What should be the warmth of Gospel forgiveness & joy, becomes the harsh winter of stewing frustrations, unrepented sins, and a tangled web of slights, wounds, and broken trust.
In an age where we face a profound vacuum of godly masculinity, men in the church have continued to harbor a diseased and deformed perversion of masculinity. Either through pride or insecurity, men withdraw into passivity, refusing to lead their wives and homes because of a bitter heart. Or else they explode with unrighteous wrath for the littlest of grievances. If Christian men would shew forth the glory of the cross and of the Fatherâ€™s love, our Christian homes must reflect it at all levels, and this begins with husbands and fathers leading their homes in repentance and true faith in Christ.