I’ve heard older women say that they wish they could be of help to the younger women, but that the younger women don’t seem interested. And I’ve heard younger women say that they wish there was an older women who could come along side and help out, but they don’t know how to connect with any older women because they all seem so busy.
Yes, Titus 2 says that the older women are to teach the young women. But we older women often jump to verse 4 (“that they may teach the young women…”) by leap-frogging over the three verses which precede it.
If we back up and look at verses 1-3, we will see that we actually have a few marching orders of our own before we move on to instructing the younger women. I think it might be helpful if we think of these things as prerequisites. We can’t just skip over our own qualifications and look around for a young woman who looks like she needs some teaching.
First, we are to be reverent “as becometh holiness” (vs. 3) The older women are to be, in a word, holy. That will steady us up a bit, but it shouldn’t stall us out all together. Holy means separated from the world or set apart. We are “saints” or “holy ones” if we are in Christ. It does not mean that we are totally sanctified or that we have achieved moral perfection. But it does mean that we live in a way that is consistent with our profession as Christians.
So we aren’t going to barge into a young woman’s life, uninvited, and start offering our own opinions or ideas about how she should dress or how she should bring up her children or how she should do anything else. (This is called, “How to make all the young women run when they see us.”)
Second, in the same verse Paul tells Titus that he should teach the older women not to be “false accusers” or “slanderers.” What! Us? Why would older women be singled out for such a thing? Well, obviously, God thought we needed a pointed reminder. Older women can be very opinionated (have you noticed?) about many things. Along with strong opinions can come unguarded words, criticisms, conclusions, or outright slander. I can just see that older woman now (can’t you?) saying, “I just speak my mind.”
Next we have the warning to older women not to be “given to much wine.” Again, we might wonder why we are singled out for this. Wine? Really? Yes, really. Like slander, this requires self-control, self-discipline, and wisdom. Older women may not have anyone who will tell them to pipe down or enough with the wine, so we must monitor ourselves. Rather a little less than we want than a little more than we should. What could be worse than a tipsy grandma? (Not much!) We certainly should not need a designated driver to get home.
And I’m just going to add for good measure here: we older women shouldn’t joke about drinking too much wine either. If God doesn’t think it’s funny, neither should we.
Older men are instructed (in verse 2) to be sober, reverent, and temperate. Then in verse 3, Paul says “the older women likewise…” So we can deduce from this that the older women are to be sober, reverent, and temperate too. This means that as we get older, we must stay on track. We can’t lurch into over-indulgence in any area, but be steadfast, wise, and self-governed. After all, we’ve been at this now for some time, so we should be getting good at it.
Matthew Henry says this: “Aged persons are apt to be peevish, fretful, and passionate; and therefore need to be on their guard against such infirmities and temptations…” We know this stereotype all too well…and we don’t want to be that person.
If we want to be the kind of older women who are a blessing to the young women, then we must absolutely rein ourselves in where needed. Then, and only then, can we start praying for opportunities to teach and help the younger women. We have to learn our lines! And we’d better hurry up about it, because we aren’t getting any younger, and if we wait too long, they will have become the older women themselves, and they’ll be doing our job for us.