I was messaging a wise mentor the other day and she told me to read Titus 2, “don’t just read it,” she said, “read it word for word.” In other words, study it. I know that chapter, I thought. I really know it. Pride. So, I set my pride aside and I have been studying it. I copied some of it last week and the more I read it, the more I am challenged.
“3 Bid the older women similarly to be reverent and devout in their deportment as becomes those engaged in sacred service, not slanderers or slaves to drink. They are to give good counsel and be teachers of what is right and noble,
4 So that they will wisely train the young women to be [a]sane and sober of mind (temperate, disciplined) and to love their husbands and their children,
5 To be self-controlled, chaste, homemakers, good-natured (kindhearted), adapting and subordinating themselves to their husbands, that the word of God may not be exposed to reproach (blasphemed or discredited).” – Titus 2:3-5
To modern culture, these words seem outdated. Words like: reverent, devout, sacred, sane, sober, self-contolled, chaste, good-natured, adapting, subordinating, seem like something out of an ancient book. They are. An ancient book with words as powerful as they were when they were first penned.
Hubby Jerry and I were in a conversation about modern humanism and how it values the lives of animals above those of the unborn. A turtle egg is protected, yet an unborn human has no guarantee of not being ripped from the womb. The truth is humanism cannot protect anyone from consequences, no matter the belief.
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.- Newton’s third law
This is a scientific law. It cannot not be ignored, bargained with or denied. What does this have to do with a bunch of supposedly outdated ideas from the Bible? If you are practicing the opposite of all of these words, the reactions will not be null and void. Loss of control will give a chaotic reaction. Being bad natured will cause everyone to not want to be around you. If you don’t adapt to your surroundings, you die. Adaptation equals survival. If one acts insanely, he will not have sane results.
I know of a woman who was a devout church goer and schooled in theology. She married and had children and heartily believed that divorce was wrong. It was a rule she was determined to keep. Yet, when it came to his family, she often acted (in the early days of marriage) with little self control and selfishly thought the marriage would be held together by her belief that divorce was wrong, not by kindness, behaving prudently, and sound in the faith, in the love, and in the steadfastness and patience [of Christ].
It’s a hard thing, this dividing thoughts and motives. We seem to be fine at dividing them for other’s, not so much for ourselves. The women in the story is me. I am often selfish and I expect an unequal reaction, that is I wish my family to love me, to be kind despite my unkindness. I have so much on my plate, they should understand, right? No. Love is not based on work load.My responsibility is not lessened because I want it to be. Responsibilities are not based on our moods. What we should be sowing is not based on the weather. I need grace, that unmerited favor, that power to overcome my weakness and help in my time of need.
Unselfishness requires me to measure time and determine what sort of workload I should take upon myself. Is it unselfish to take on more than I can bear and blame my crankiness on my family? Is it selfish to say “no” when I know if I skip the event I will be kinder, sweeter to my family? No.Unselfishness is not giving oneself with no regard to the consequences (reaction). That is actually selfishness. That is idolatry. Setting your plan above health and sanity is selfish and cowardly. Men balance us, women. When I ask my hubby if I should lead another group, join another organization, travel to another _____, he often says, “no”. Not because he doesn’t want me to live out my dreams. He just understand the nightmare after I overextend myself with the agenda of helping others.
“A woman means by Unselfishness chiefly taking trouble for others; a man means not giving trouble to others.“- C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters
Let’s re-evaluate our definition of unselfishness for the good of our families, ladies.We can adapt to our husbands by not taking on more than we can handle physically and emotionally. We can be keepers at home by unselfishly not saying ‘yes’ to every outing, but by a healthy ‘no’ when needed. We don’t have to teach every class, join every bookclub, go on every field trip, speak every time we are asked, serve every time we are wanted. If our motives are awry, then our opposite and equal reaction will be frustration, not joy. Joy and unselfishness do not coexist.
Linking up with Kristin Hill Taylor for Three Word Wednesday. Join us!