… [older women] not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Titus 1:3b
An older woman of God is one who doesn’t slander and is also one who is not addicted to wine. The first makes her mean and the second puts her under the control of something other than the Spirit of God.
Slanderers. They attack, they disparage, they belittle, they are critical, they blame, they love mudslinging, they nit-pick, they fault-find, and they vilify. Know anyone like that? Maybe you grew up with a slanderer for a parent or you are married to one. It’s hard to hold your head up when you can do almost nothing right. It takes years to hear the voice of Jesus as He begs to correct your self-identity. Paul tells Titus that an older woman who slanders is unfit for mentoring. She cannot have a positive impact on someone younger and less mature in her faith.
The insidious damage done by slanderers is the message they convey while they disparage others. The message is ~ I focus on the flaws of others and, sooner or later, I will focus on yours. The trust relationship is destroyed. The younger woman knows that she is no longer in safe hands, and in her immaturity, she might have trouble distinguishing between this older critical person and the person of Jesus. Oh, the damage done!
An older woman addicted to wine will not be dependably stable. She may be warm one day and testy the next. Alcohol, or the lack of, controls her moods. I grew up with two uncles who were alcoholics. We visited them once a year but every time we did, I went in their house with a knot in my stomach. I never knew if they would be surly or friendly. It was usually the first.
The insidious damage done by someone addicted to wine (or anything else) is that she teaches that Jesus isn’t enough. Her actions beg to prove that she must have her ‘drug of choice’ to exist. How can she speak of the power of the Gospel then? Her life provides a double message.
A slanderer does not love. Her protégé cannot trust her.
An addict cannot control herself. Her protégé cannot relax around her.
Jesus, You were loving. You were also self-controlled. If I am to teach others about you, I must be like You. Amen