Today’s reading is Titus 3.
According to historical study, the Cretan populace was, in general, sinful and immoral in the extreme. And not just by the standards of the likes of Paul. The rest of the Roman world looked down on Crete and Cretans as vile, beastly, immoral liars. That means they were pretty bad. So we can imagine when Paul wrote to Titus about what to teach the Christians, he had a lot to say about how the Christians should wage the culture war among the sexually immoral, morally destitute, sinfully wicked Cretans. No doubt, he encouraged them to have public demonstrations, to take every opportunity to shout down the immorality, to argue constantly with everyone who disagreed with the revelation coming from the apostles, to belittle and shame the sinners. Or wait. Maybe he gave different instructions. Look again at today’s reading.
- Be submissive to rulers and authorities
- Be obedient
- Be ready for every good work
- Speak evil of no one
- Avoid quarreling
- Be gentle
- Show perfect courtesy toward all people
Wow! Why? Because we are surrounded by people who need a Savior just as we do. The only difference between us and those who still pursue sin with reckless abandon is through Jesus Christ we have the empowering strength of the Holy Spirit. Obviously, this doesn’t mean we are to neglect teaching truth and correcting opponents (see Titus 1:9; 2:1, 7-8). However, let us think about Paul’s instructions to the Cretan Christians before we act, before we interact, before we react.
Monday’s reading is John 1.
A Word for Our Kids
Hey kids, what a balancing act Paul encourages us to walk in today’s reading. I know it is hard when we are surrounded by such sinful influences. We are tempted to go one of two ways. Either we fall in step with the sinful, accepting sin and even promoting sin; or we attack them with a ferocious intensity. Paul proposes a middle ground. We set an example of submission to authority, of positive relationships, of service and love. We are firm on our boundaries. We teach truth and correct opponents, but we do not get quarrelsome. We do not accept or condone sin, but we are courteous even to sinners. This is, perhaps the hardest approach to take. You would think everyone involved will love us for such an approach. But you will find that the world will still hate us, belittle us, and mock us. However, we will not rise to their baiting. We will simply hold firm to our boundaries while gently promoting truth in our words and in our actions.