In 2011, I took my first biblical counseling class, and one session focused on the “Anti-Psalm.” The goal was to better understand what a text is saying by carefully thinking through the exact opposite meaning. It can be insightful to see the “opposite” of a text, and gives an excellent way to clarify the actual meaning.
Let’s do it today with Titus 2. Here’s that text, as written:
But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness.
Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.
Here’s my proposal for its opposite:
“But as for you, refrain from teaching altogether. Or, if and when you teach, teach sloppily. Say what sounds and feels good; don’t fuss with stodgy old doctrine.
“Older men should be preoccupied with jokes, undignified, careless, undiscerning, and immature in things of God. They should be cold and detached from people, inconsistent and undependable.
“Like them, older women should be insincere, jokers, continually gossiping about and judging people around them, and known as drunken women. Ideally, they should keep to women their own age and refrain from teaching the younger women anything.
“But if they teach, they should teach non-important, non-eternal things. They should laugh with the younger women about their silly husbands, and by their example and words encourage the younger women to criticize and belittle their husbands.
“They should teach them to be uncommitted to and unconcerned about the long-term good of their children, seeking self-fulfillment and self-promotion above all else. They should teach younger women to be slaves to the pleasures of life, encourage indiscretion and carelessness in what they listen to and watch, to prioritize their work outside the home and justify laziness inside of it, to be critical and cruel in their judgments toward others, and to question and buck their husband’s authority.
“They should not ever teach the younger women to connect their choices in regard to marriage, family, and home, with the reputation of the Word of God.”
QUESTIONS FOR YOUNGER WOMEN:
- What are you learning from older women?
- Are you living your life in such a way, growing in the things Titus 2 describes, so that you will be able to teach these things when you are older?
QUESTIONS FOR OLDER WOMEN:
- What do your words and actions say to younger women?
- Are you obeying the commands laid out in Titus 2? Are you TEACHING?
- Do you call the same things “good” that God calls “good?”