Older Women Teaching the Younger Women
Sunday, 30 January 2011 05:00
In the spring of youth, what lay beyond the thick brush of foliage is difficult to see. As age matures the forest of life and the leaves begin to fall, the eyes begin to see clearer what is beyond the other side of life. In growing older the mind begins to focus more clearly on matters of worth and value. Through the years of time and experience, wisdom implants itself upon the heart.
The pattern of maturity God instilled in man was to live in the spring of youth with all the vitality and vigor that life can offer. However, lacking in the spring is the wisdom of years of experience and knowledge of the road of life. This can only come in growth and age. Hence, God instructed Paul to write to Titus and declare the importance of this aged wisdom to be imparted to the young.
“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, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed” (Titus 2:3-5).
The importance of sound doctrine is found in the knowledge of the aged women being given to the younger women (and also the older men to the younger men). The character of the older woman is shown to be above reproach. Before an impact can be made upon the heart of the young woman, the life of the older woman must manifest holiness, purity of speech and body, and a desire to teach good things.
When this is accomplished, the older woman should then teach the younger woman to have sobriety, create a happy home and act in such a manner the word of God will not be blasphemed. These ideas are established upon the principle of “sound doctrine.”
Our modern day society has damaged this relationship (if not destroyed it) to where it is difficult to find occasions of older women teaching younger women. In times past when communities and neighborhoods were close, women gathered together and shared their lives with one another. On these occasions the younger women would learn as the older women spoke of their experiences and advice.
Younger women respected and honored older women. Older women taught younger women the many aspects of being a wife and a mother. Even when a child was born, all the women would get together and help bring the baby into the world. When children became sick, women rallied around one another to help and assist—all the while teaching.
In these days that we live, we find seclusion the most common practice. We don’t live in close proximity to one another and we share little of the common every day activities. Babies are delivered in sterile hospitals by strangers, we take our children to doctors for all their health needs, our food comes wrapped in plastic and everyone minds their own affairs. Within the church we have become afraid of sharing our lives with anyone or, at best, very few. How many people of this congregation do we really know well? How many homes have we been in this past year? How often do women get together to share their lives with one another? How often do the older women take the time to teach the younger women? How often have the younger women desired to listen to the older women?
The instruction given by the Holy Spirit is for the older women to teach the younger women to be sober. Younger women are to be moderate in their behavior and in their dress. The older women are to teach the younger women the dangers of dressing immodestly. The younger women are to learn from the older women how to exercise self-control in their actions.
It would seem odd that younger women would need to learn how to love their husbands and to love their children. The wisdom of God shows that the older women can help direct the paths of those young women who may be traveling down the road of heartache so as to teach them how to love their family. Joseph Collins said, “A prudent person profits from personal experience, a wise one from the experience of others.” The older woman has experienced the years of marriage and can impart guidance to the young. The young women need to heed the wisdom of the older women about the home. If a young woman seeks her wisdom about her family from talk shows, secular books and worldly friends, the wisdom will be based upon man and not God. Godly women who have loved their husbands and their children will be able to give sound advice to younger women on the family.
A young woman who first enters marriage needs much guidance. So it is when a child comes along and then other children. Here we find the wisdom of God helping the young mother find help from the older women.
Young women must be taught to be of a discreet nature and to be pure from carnality. This is being chaste and modest in their actions and appearance. Older women are to teach the younger women these traits. One reason the home may be falling apart is due to the lack of teaching by older women impressing upon the younger women the elements of the home. The role of the woman is to keep the home and manage properly that sphere of her relationship before God. If young women are not taught this, the home will crumble. Young women must heed the experience of older women in matters such as this and be willing to follow the guidance of the older women. The woman’s so-called liberation movement expresses for the woman to seek her own and not to be burdened with the chores of the home. Children are being raised by grandparents or daycare centers as the home crumbles. Younger women will not heed the direction of godly older women and attribute the cause to a “generation gap.” God instructs godly women who are older to teach the younger women who desire to be godly.
The value of this kind of teaching is seen from the viewpoint of the age difference. A young woman may look at her life as stretching before her with a great sense of perfection. Life is good for all practical purposes to the young woman. As in the spring of youth, she does not know what can lay just beyond the horizon.
The older woman with eyes of maturity has been down the road the young woman is about the travel. Life is not always smooth and understanding. She may say to the young woman, “You have much to learn about life.” The young woman may resent the older woman’s admonition. If given in a spirit of love and concern, it can be a message of hope, if received by the young woman. The older woman has seen the difficulties of life. She knows the heartache children can bring; the difficulty of emotions that bring dark days; the feelings of despair; the general ups and downs of life. The older woman is not trying to destroy the spirit of the young woman but rather to encourage her and give her faith and hope.
Many times the older woman has experienced death, disease, depression, or unspeakable heartache. On the other hand she has enjoyed happiness, contentment and peace. In all characteristics, she shares her feelings with other women. The wisdom of God shows how women often relate more to women than men do to women.
The Lord instructed godly women to help the younger women. If the older woman has an attitude of despair and resentment toward the younger, little valuable teaching can be done. Here is the relationship-building bond that can exist between the older and younger women. A bond of friendship and understanding is the level field of unity. Women have a role of teaching other women and this is an important part of the work of the church. When the church neglects the teaching of the women they have failed to teach the whole counsel of God. Women need to encourage one another and help one another. God’s plan works when we apply His teaching to our lives. Older women must respect the younger women and the younger women must respect the older women. They must listen to one another and seek to help one another in the relationship of the individual and the home.
Thank God for godly women who, by example and teaching, instruct the younger women. Thank God for younger women who look to godly older women for guidance.