Jump Start # 2285
Titus 2:4 “that they would encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children.”
Yesterday was Valentine’s Day—the day of romance, flowers, hearts and chocolates. I remember in school passing out little valentines to everyone in our class. I don’t know if that is still done anymore. Our verse today is about love. The older women were to encourage the younger women to love. They were to encourage them to love their husbands and to love their children. On the surface, it would seem that if there was one thing that was natural it ought to be the love of a wife toward her husband and a mother toward her children. You’d think that this wouldn’t be necessary, that’s why we must look beyond the surface.
First, the word “encourage,” is footnoted with the word “train.” This type of love is not a feeling nor an emotion. That is what comes naturally. That is what Valentine’s Day is all about. Romance, the sparks, the feelings, the look in a persons eyes, all of that is natural and you can’t teach someone to love someone that way. Either it’s there or it isn’t. The word ‘love’ that is used here is not a feeling, but rather a choice. This is the word God chose when He said, “For God so loved the world,” in John 3:16. This love is not a reaction. It’s not based upon how the other person feels. Romans 5:8 says that God demonstrated His love towards us, while we were sinners, Christ died for us. Christ didn’t come because we were really good. He came because we were really bad. Christ didn’t come after we stopped sinning and started to go to worship services. The passage states, “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” He came at the worse possible time. He caught us with our hands in the cookie jar. The while we were sinners part shows that God’s love isn’t based upon our we behaved, because we weren’t behaving. We were misbehaving. This is the same word love found in our Titus passage. Older women were to train younger women how to love, want the best, do the best, to family, when we are not our best. This doesn’t come naturally.
You see how unnatural this is by the TV promos for shows like Marriage Bootcamp. All that I’ve seen looks like drama, shouting, selfishness, anger and not much godly love. This is where the world lives. If you are nice to me, I probably will be nice to you. But, I’ll wait first to see how you are. The world operates on reaction and then responding. What Titus is driving at is the opposite. It’s deciding to do what is right and to have the right spirit and attitude. You decide this and you stay with this, no matter how hubby or the kids are acting. Choice, not a feeling. Decision, not a response.
Second, there are times when those very near and dear to us are ‘unlovable.’ That is true of all of us. There are moments when we are not very lovable. A child throwing up because he has the flu is not one of those precious moments that a parent holds dear to. What’s the loving thing to do? Help the child. Clean up after the child. Comfort the child. There are moments when husband feels threatened by his job. There are times he comes home upset and angry. He may vent at home. You have chosen to love him. You will help him, encourage him and support him. There are times when our selfish side rises to the top. The house is a mess. The basement looks like the stands of a ballpark, with cups every where, food spilled on the floor and everyone sitting around staring at the TV. Your home looks like the poster for Worst Homes and Gardens. You see this and feel like turning around and going out the door. You feel like screaming. However, you have chosen to love. That doesn’t mean you become the clean up crew and their sloppy and lazy behavior becomes the norm, but in those unlovable moments, you love.
Third, your example is illustrating to the others what they ought to manifest as well. Loving the unlovable husband ought to remind him that he needs to follow suit and do the same towards the wife. Loving the children when they are at their worst, ought to show dedication, love and responsibility within them as well. Sometimes those lessons aren’t picked up on. Sometimes people never change. Some are so selfish that they can’t see beyond themselves. Yet, our passage reminds younger wives to love. Even then, love.
Relationships are hard. They can be the best and they can be the worst. We expect more out of family than we do others. We want our families to automatically choose to do the right thing every time. But they don’t. We want our kids to run and hug us. But sometimes all they want to do is to stick their tongues out at us. We want them to jump in and help out, but there are days that all they seem to do is create messes. But still, in all of this, there is something that keeps us going and keeps us from giving up. This is our family. Our blood. Our people. We will put up with more from them. We will suffer more for them. We will tolerate pain much longer from them. And, the blessings, the joys, the smiles, the love is what makes it all worth so much.
Do what’s right. Do it when you don’t get a “thank you” back. Do it when you don’t feel like it. Do it when it’s hard. Do it when you seem to have to be the only one who cares. Do what is right, because that’s what love is based upon.
Getting a box of chocolates on Valentine’s Day is much easier than this stuff. But this stuff is what God wants you to do. Not just on a special day in February, but all the time.