I love to hang out with younger women.
Recently, I was in a meeting where I realized I must be the oldest woman in the group. I was excited. I told them that I had recently prayed God would bring younger women into my life. But I worried that they were thinking, “Seriously? Yeah, I bet she’s glad. It’s that Titus 2 Woman principle she’s after—older women teaching younger women. She’s probably thinking she has a thing or two to teach us. What do we have to offer her?”
Older-younger women relationships are a two-way street. Those of us who have entered the empty nest or retirement seasons of life gain so much from being around the 20’s-40’s set and their children. My great-aunt, whom I affectionately call my sweet Aunt Charlotte, told me staying around younger women kept her young. At 92, she still enjoyed going out with the rest of us for a good evening.
I’m nowhere near 92 but I’m beginning to appreciate her perspective. As an older, er, more “mature” woman, I love to be around children. I want to hear the baby giggles and see those preschooler antics that embarrass the mothers but don’t need to. I’ll sit back and pass the popcorn as I hear middle schoolers relay their teenage drama. And I crave to hear what is happening in families’ lives: their heartaches, joys, challenges, and happy moments. Younger women give me a different perspective on world problems, and they nudge me to keep reaching beyond my comfort zones. My daughters and their friends who are in their early 30’s amaze me with their wisdom and depth of commitment to change the world and seek the face of God.
Younger women and their families are not a bother; they’re a blessing
How does a Titus 2 woman act?
Yes, the Bible says the older women are to teach the younger women. But Paul directs his instructions toward the older woman and gives them details of HOW they are to teach younger women. I get the impression that Paul puts the burden on the older women, not the younger ones. Let’s look at Paul’s words:
“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. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.”Titus 2:3-5
This passage tells me three ways I need to behave before I dare to teach one of you younger women how to live your life in Jesus’ name.
Earn the right to be heard.
Paul exhorts Titus to teach the older women to be reverent or respectful. They are not to slander. That means we can’t talk behind your back about how much you are messing up.
We’re not to be addicted to much wine. Paul’s word to older men in the verses above broadens that out to the need to be self-controlled. That means we need to have our cravings and passions under restraint whether it’s drink, food, how we spend money, or what we spend our time doing. Is anything controlling my life and my choices other than the Holy Spirit of God? Does anything take so much of my focus in life that it crowds out relationships and steals time I could use to do good? I need to set boundaries so you can see through my example that living a godly lifestyle can be done and how it can be done.
Finally, we are to commit ourselves to teach what is good. We older women have a lot we could say. We don’t want the younger women to make the mistakes we have and we’d love to share from our experience. However, we need to evaluate and prioritize what we share with our younger women friends. Are we really teaching a better way, a godly way? Or are we trying to persuade younger women to our way? If you have difficulty knowing the difference, ask yourself, “In the scope of eternity, does this really matter?” I have to remind myself that my daughters and younger women friends are smart women. Like I did at one time, they’ll figure out a lot of life hacks out on their own.
Teaching is as much by doing as by saying. How can I influence a younger woman to be self-controlled, kind and loving if I’m not pursuing those attributes in my life? We have no idea how many people watch our lives, asking inwardly, “How do they manage this Christian living thing?”
After a woman has learned to be reverent in how she lives, she is then ready to relay the message of God’s grace to the next generation. Paul uses the word urge. Other Bible versions use the words train or encourage. Think of a coach coming alongside a fledgling athlete, hanging out with them, and slipping in that wise counsel in the process. Some of sweet Aunt Charlotte’s wisest words came between shared girl giggles. Any teaching nestles itself in the confidence of, “I know you can do this.”
Limit your teaching
Paul’s list doesn’t include doctrine. It’s very practical, yet equally spiritual. Older women are to teach the younger women how to live a godly life in a secular world: how to be kind and self-controlled, and how to have a stable, secure, and peaceful home.
Why the emphasis on the practical? Why are women called to exhibit their faith in Christ through good deeds? If we don’t show how to live the life Christ has called us to live, Christian doctrine becomes meaningless. Seekers will ask, “Why should I bother with this Christianity thing? It hasn’t made any difference for you.”
What would happen if . . . .?
Christians’ portrayal of God’s love and kindness has the potential to impact the lives of unbelievers more than a hundred exegetical sermons. Think of the possibilities. If the more mature women believers among us can become stellar models of faith, love, and grace, and we intentionally, proactively worked with younger women to join us in living that extremely different lifestyle, we could change our society.
Wouldn’t that be exciting?
If you’ve been a Christian for many years, can I challenge you to ramp up your efforts to include God in every aspect of your life? Ask God’s help to cultivate kindness, love, and self-control in your life to a higher level? And let me encourage you to risk becoming intricately involved in a younger woman’s life so she can see up close and personal what it means to live like you really do believe what the Bible says about grace, forgiveness, and love.
If you are a younger woman, would you consider actively inviting an older woman to enter your life circle? She needs your wisdom, perspective, and hope as much as you need hers. Look for a woman committed to Jesus in everything she does, not just for an hour each Sunday in a church facility. Warning: you won’t find the perfect role model. She’s still growing too. She’ll have her grumpy, critical moments. Don’t see her as a crabby old woman. Instead, remember that life grabs her by the throat at times just like it does to you. As you do life together, you can help each other attain what Paul calls us to do. Together, your linked lives will combine to illuminate Jesus even more brightly to those who watch you.
You might find this article on being a Titus 2 Woman helpful: Nine Things Titus 2 Women do