“Treat older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity.”—1 Timothy 5:2
This verse has been sort of a theme in my class this semester. Whatever it might pertain to, whether it’s impurity, disrespect, flirtation, or leading them on, the question always is there: would you do that to your sister? So because this is a verse written to a man, and a pastor at that, you might be wondering how this has any bearing on your own life, as a woman (I’m assuming the bulk of my readership is female). But I assure you, it does. As young women, who are either dating, thinking about dating, or wanting to date you can do a lot to encourage the men in your life to treat you with respect and purity.
Paul sets the standards really high, doesn’t he? If he were to peek into your relationships with boyfriends, friends, or even random guys you meet at a party, would he find them treating you as sisters? Better yet, would he find you encouraging them to treat you as sisters?
The reality is that as women we have tremendous power in encouraging the guys in our lives to act like men. By your actions you can either encourage the guys in your life to sin sexually or you can encourage them to work hard at being men (i.e treating you with purity). The fact is that so often we make it too easy for them. We give into their sexual pursuit because we think it will make them love us more and then we are disappointed when it has the exact opposite effect. We flirt with them, essentially begging them for attention. We let them have too much of our heart, all the while hoping that in the end they might see the light and ask us out. How is that working for you?
All of us want to be pursued and treated with respect, right? I have never met a girl or woman who says “I want to be treated like an object. I want to be treated like I don’t matter.” Every girl wants to be treated with respect by the guy she is with. Every girl wants to be loved, cherished, honored, pursued, and valued, right? It doesn’t happen in the context of a sexual relationship outside of marriage. Guys learn to treat girls with honor by the respect that is demanded from them. When you expect a guy to only treat you like he would his sister, you are encouraging, and even demanding, that he respect you and your body.
So if you are single woman reading this today, apply the words of Paul to your own life. Protect the men around you by giving them no other choice but to treat you like a sister. You will be happier. Your life will be easier. And in the end, the guys who don’t want to follow the Bible will take their ball and go home.
God knew what he was doing when he gave us the commands of Scripture. And it’s worth the wait and the discipline to abide by his standards.