I was reading through Paul’s letter to Titus for the last few days and it got me thinking about how I could approach the new year. I was in the mindset of renewal, re-commitment, and setting myself back to where I feel compelled to be.
I think of the passing of a new year as the time when we take stock and re-evaluate where we are, who we have become as people, and what goals we have reached for ourselves and what remains undone that needs to be addressed. I see the new year as an opportunity many of us takes to re-establish ourselves and re-establish our relationships and commitments.
With that in mind, I was reading the letter to Titus, especially chapter two of the letter where Paul is giving instructions and advice on how Titus and the church Titus is trying to establish in Crete should conduct themselves. I saw this letter as a sort of reminder for myself and a reminder I could direct to others to re-evaluate and think about who we have become and how we have conducted ourselves. In the spirit of renewal, let us remember and re-think what is expected of us as moral individuals.
Titus 2:1-8 [New King James version]
“But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good thing– that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God not be blasphemed. Likewise exhort the young men to be sober minded, in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.”
While some of the instructions may seem traditional and conservative and outdated for our particular environment, culture, and society here in the 21st century, the overall underlying call here I think is for us to be more considerate of others, be more reverent and respectful, and to re-affirm our commitment to our relationships and families. I think we are being asked to renew our commitment to those things which we value and to consider what it is we should value the most.
What I take away from this Scripture is this, basically:
Be committed to enriching your bonds with family and spouses and loved ones. Be committed to being gentler, kinder, more patient. Be more mindful of our speech and how we present ourselves to others. We are role models for children and for others. Our actions and speech are a reflection of not just ourselves but our values, the people who have instilled those values in us, and our upbringings. Maintain a right frame of mind and strive to be more humble, more honest, more appreciative of the blessings and gifts we have been given, and strive to be more sincere in our actions and thoughts.
Let’s try and look out for each other and remain grounded and level headed. Let’s not be overcome by the haters and detractors and bigots. Let’s not let our enemies distract us from our goals of caring for ourselves and the ones we love and care about. Let us not be so overwhelmed by others’ hate that we become hateful ourselves and forget our better selves.
The world will know that LGBT people are kind, generous, forgiving, compassionate people by our thoughts, words, and deeds. Let’s strive to remind people that we are not these disgusting stereotypes and negative myths. We are real people and we are good people.