Titus 2:3-4 “the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, “
I have a tremendous amount of respect for older women. After being married for almost 32 years and watching my wife bear 4 children, prepare dinner each night, protect them, guide and watch over them, I understand a little better what women go through.
To those women who never had children, the struggle is real as well. For years the chauvinism of society has dominated our culture. When Paul was writing exhortations to women in his day, women were treated as second class citizens. The error in understanding the value of women in the home, in marriage, and their role within the church has led to a weakening of society and specifically the church in general.
According to God—women are equally as important within society and the spectrum of God’s Kingdom as men. I believe many prominent christian leaders have understood this for a long time, unfortunately, it’s been radical feminist groups that have had to take this charge and make it prominent.
Why is this unfortunate you may ask?
The term “Feminism” is defined as the “advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes. From an outside perspective the movement sounds fair and equitable but at its core the modern day feminist movement is anything but godly. Shrouded in equal rights, feminism at its core is secularism and a godless determination to “overthrow” a patriarchal system of governance that they claim has suppressed a woman’s role in society. Out of this thinking arises the evil practice of abortion on demand and a hostility toward the way God ordained marriage from mankind’s inception.
I will argue on behalf of women who were refused basic rights in our culture. It wasn’t until 1920 until women could vote in America and equal pay in the workplace has been an ongoing dilemma for women who should be recognized for their value, intelligence, and contributions at every level of society. Even today we see abuse in countries that treat women as inferior. The slave trade industry is continually being exposed as a clear and present danger in nearly every country in the world. The exploitation of women in the porn industry is a multibillion dollar venture and now child abuse is growing where legislation for legalization of such abuse is being considered by those advocating for sex change or even a lowering of standards for pedophilia.
The condition of our world is dismal at best and women are at the center of attack, it’s no wonder so many have taken to radical expressions of anger to highlight this abuse.
A Godly Perspective
How does God see women?—-He values them.
1 Peter 3:7 “Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.”
Women as a whole may be weaker in stature but no less worthy of honor. God commends husbands that if they do not honor their wives, their prayers will be hindered. Do you understand the ramifications of this? The Lord will not hear your pleas if you can’t show love and respect to the woman He has brought into your life. This is serious!
Ephesians 5:25-27 “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her to sanctify her, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to Himself as a glorious church, without stain or wrinkle or any such blemish, but holy and blameless.”
Do you see the parallel of the sacrificial love demonstrated and the expectation of men in the same regard? The Lord could have demonstrated HIs power over mankind but chose instead to humble Himself, take up the form of a servant, and gave Himself as a sacrifice that we might be saved. Men may be stronger than women in general but should never exert this strength over a woman, she is to be lifted up and given honor.
James 1:27 “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.”
Older women who may have lost a husband or are simply alone are ones we as a church should care after as well. This reverence for older women is an element of what is biblically considered “pure and undefiled religion”.
There is an expectation for children to care for their mother’s once the father has passed away.
1 Timothy 5:8 “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”
The church has dropped the ball more than once in it’s responsibilities as a people of God. Many times, unbelievers have shown more honor in this regard than those who claim to be transformed by the power of God. Regardless of how “likeable” a person is, how much work it takes to care for the elderly, or the time constraints required for such care, we should be demonstrating love that exceeds us and our desire for comfort. I’m getting to the age where this is about to become a reality and I’ve talked with many who have been through this chapter of their lives, caring for elderly parents. It is a responsibility that we should prepare for and be ready for when it happens, it shouldn’t take us by surprise.
Back to the commendation to older women in Titus; although we have a responsibility toward how we treat women at every age level, women are given a charge as well.
- Older women exhibiting “reverent behavior” understand what is holy and conduct themselves accordingly. This shows an understanding that they are ultimately subjected to God’s authority and it is He who is deserving of all honor and praise. By demonstrating a knowledge of God, older women draw younger women into a mentoring role of what godly women look like and give them a model for which they might attain.
- Older women should not be slanderers. Gossip is slander. It is very easy for women to fall into this trap, they are inclined toward conversation and it is likewise tempting to be drawn into the affairs of others and the opinions of what they think regarding others behavior. The attribute of knowing how to build others up when they struggle is the attribute of a woman who honors the Lord in all she does.
- Older women shouldn’t be addicted to much wine. Wine lowers inhibitions and likewise changes attitudes. Some get mean when drinking while others spew out of their mouths all they have withheld in the past. It brings shame upon those who can’t control this substance and leaves a trail of regret.
- Older women should be teachers of good. All that is of God is good. Understanding God’s truth and knowing how to relay it to others is a facet of godly maturity. Women have a perspective that is different than men, so regardless of who is in the audience, we all could learn from their insight.
The value women bring is invaluable when they are led by the Spirit of God. Their is inherent value and their is learned value in respect to the lessons they have learned in life.
Women do not only have a place in God’s Kingdom, they are right in the center of it with men.
My hope is that we as a church learn to embrace everything God has given to us and our differences and genders only make us stronger together.