Sunday, November 11, 2012

Being Reverent

Titus 2:3. Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good,
It might be very easy for guys to check out on this one and say that it does not apply. But here we have to be careful, both in the sense that the characteristics spoken of here do cross male/female lines, and also that husbands are charged with loving their wives and seeing that they are given support and encouragement in growing into the kind of woman spoken of here and who Paul refers to as one who “has no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless.”
I’ve been involved in the Boy Scouts for a long time and even as a leader I am expected to uphold the Scout Oath and Law. The Scout Law is a 12 point statement of attributes that Scouts are to strive for, where the last of them is that “a Scout is reverent.”  Here is how it is described for the scouts: “A Scout is reverent toward God. He is faithful in his religious duties. He respects the beliefs of others.”  While this does not carry the exact intent of the usage in Titus, it does reflect an institutionalized recognition that all people, men and women, are to be reverent in their behavior toward God and others.
One thing I noticed about the Scout Law and its influential source, the Bible, is that one cannot be reverent without being respectful. In Paul’s closing comment on marriage, Ephesians 5:33, we read that women are to be respectful toward their husbands. Peter even speaks of the wife winning her disobedient husband by her pure and respectful behavior (1 Peter 3:2). The New International Version, in translating this verse, speaks of the husband being won as he responds to the purity and reverence shown by his wife.
Exuding reverence is just the start of the list, but it is a critical start. All of the other character traits of the Titus woman stem from her living as one who is reverent toward God and toward others. One who is respectful will not gossip, something men do as well. One who is reserved will not lose control by diving into alcohol, again men are guilty here. And one who is focused on doing right, male or female, will be one who is able to show others how to do so as well.

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