Healthy teachings for the older women
Titus 2:1 You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine.
After giving Titus instructions for topics to teach the older men, Paul then turns to the topics for older women that are in accord with the healthy teaching of Christ’s work on the cross.
Titus 2:3 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good
Just like the older men, the older women need to be taught into maturity. Maturity doesn’t happen on its own or by default. If we are going to imitate God and his love for us, then we must be instructed on how to get there.
Paul also lists two enemies of an older woman’s maturity – the temptation to gossip and the possibility of becoming addicted to, or enslaved by, wine. When all the children have left the home, many older women go through an identity crisis. So much of their lives have been (rightly) focused on preparing their contribution to the next generation. When that season is over, the question “What’s next?” has many potential answers to choose from – and not all of them are good.
Slander or Gossip, as well as an addiction (either to wine or some other substance) are very self-centered choices. The thinking behind both behaviors – “Hey, listen to the info I’ve found out” and whatever rationalizations we give ourselves for addictions – all have motives which are focused inward. An inward focus undercuts the ability to mature and imitate God’s love to others.
Paul lists these two traps in contrast with what the older women should be focusing on – to teach what is good. But whom shall the older women teach? Paul gives the answer in the next verse:
Titus 2:4 Then they can train the younger women…
After they have finished preparing their own children, an older woman needs to shift her focus to preparing the next generation of Christian women. Paul gives instructions for Titus to teach several different groups in the church – but he specifically calls on the older women to teach the younger women. Paul does not give Titus the responsibility to teach the younger women. I fully believe this was intentional, as the mentor-relationship bond formed between an older woman and a younger woman cannot be duplicated.
The younger women needed support, as evidenced by Paul’s first lesson that an older woman needs to teach:
Titus 2:4 Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children…
As one who has been a child and is now a husband…I fully admit that we’re not always easy to love. I am thankful for the older women who have come along side of my wife to help her, to teach her, and to train her how to love like Christ.
If you fit the category of an older woman, ask God to point you to a younger woman for you to mentor. She needs you more than she’ll likely let on.
If you don’t fit the category, pray for the older women that you know. Ask God to include them in preparing the next generation of Christian women.