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An Open Letter to Older Christian Ladies from a Young Christian

by Daniel Howell

daniel-howellDear Respected Older Christian Ladies:

Let me make a confession to you: I've always felt a little uncomfortable doing lessons geared toward the ladies. It's mainly passages like Proverbs 31:10-31; 1 Corinthians 14:34-35; Ephesians 5:22-24; 1 Timothy 2:9-14; and Titus 2:3-5 that I'm talking about. Oh, and Mother's Day, too.

I'm so afraid I'm going to say something insensitive, or come across as chauvinistic. I'm already a smidgen nervous when I get ready to preach and those passages and topics only add to my anxiety. I'll preach them, but like I said, I'm extra nervous.

For that matter, I've always thought it a little odd (if not counterintuitive or seemingly offensive) for a man to be telling a woman exactly what her role ought to be, specifically in the home. I'm not saying it's wrong at all. It's Biblical, and necessary. But is a middle-aged man always the most qualified or effective person to do it?

Probably not. Maybe that's why Paul wrote what he did to Titus: “Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.” (Titus 2:3–5 NAS95)

Notice the end of verse three, beginning of verse four. Who should this teaching really be coming from? Well, the most sensible place possible—older women.

Allow me to further illustrate my point. My wife has made the decision to stay at home with our small children, and work within our home. Let me make it clear that it was her decision—she made it from the heart, and she owns it. When the topic comes up in conversation with some older women, I have often heard the following refrain: "I stayed at home with our kids, and I'm so glad I did!"

I've also heard this: "Oh, that's great—I wish I had, too."

I have yet to meet a respected older woman (or at least one who I respect) who has said otherwise. On the other hand, I have heard and read the words of a lot of very opinionated younger women who are critical of stay-at-home moms. I think that's telling. That's not even getting on the subject of marriage, which can be a minefield of its own.

Could it be that many older women know something that the younger women don't? Yes. Could it be that their experiences in life could help keep other young mothers from steering their lives down a road they will eventually lament if not outright regret?

I think so. Paul thought so. God thinks so. The problem is, many if not most of the older women of our age are keeping their mouths tightly shut. That's exactly what the devil wants them to do.

Older ladies, as a young husband and preacher, this is my call for you to speak up—to teach our young women!

Now I don't want you to misconstrue what I'm writing to think that my wife needs some training, or that she has been inadequate in some way. In fact, she has become a wonderful mother and a model homemaker. But unfortunately, it has largely been without the help of the older Christian ladies in her life. Oh, there have been exceptions, and I truly think they made all the difference. But that's just it—they were exceptions.

In fact, there have been times that I have seen my young Christian wife leading the older Christian women! Is that the way it ought to be? Is it fair? How do you think Paul would answer that question? As a man, why do I care? Well, because this issue directly affects me—the young Christian husband of a young Christian woman.

The quality of my marriage is a direct result of the knowledge and training she has to be a Christian wife (along with my own training to be her husband). Likewise, the quality of our children’s home life is a direct result of the knowledge and training she has to be a Christian mother. I care, because it makes all the difference in the world to my home.

Older Christian ladies, you have a supremely valuable gift—it's called wisdom from life experience. If you have successfully raised a faithful Christian family, you know what works and what doesn't. You know what it takes. If your marriage has thrived after 25, 30, 40, or 50 or more years, you know what makes that happen.

That gift of this wisdom is a special, unique gift that only you can give. For our young families' sakes, if you aren’t already, will you give it?

Daniel Howell is the preacher for the Sweetwater (TN) Church of Christ.


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The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

John 10:10