Titus 2 Women
Lesson 10 – Agatha
Titus 2:3-5 (NIV)
Likewise, teach the older women
to be reverent in the way they live,
not to be slanderers
or addicted to much wine,
but to teach what is good.
Then they can urge the younger women
to love their husbands and children,
to be self-controlled and pure,
to be busy at home,
to be kind,
and to be subject to their husbands,
so that no one will malign the word of God.
Do you know any Agathas?
- Agatha H – Girl Genius
- Saint Agatha
- Agatha Christie
The Girl Genius is a webcomic character with the tagline, “Adventure, Romance, MAD SCIENCE!” Saint Agatha is remembered for her unwavering devotion to God in the face of persecution; when she rejected the advances of Emperor Decius, he sent her to a house of prostitution and had her tortured (251 AD). Agatha Christie’s mysteries brought us Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple and Tommy and Tuppence. Intriguing Agathas, all.
God calls you to be an Agatha.
When he wrote Titus 2:5, Paul used the Greek word, agathos, the root of the name Agatha. In English versions of the passage, it is almost universally translated kind.
Per dictionary.com, kind means:
- of a good or benevolent nature or disposition
- having, showing, or proceeding from benevolence
- indulgent, considerate, or helpful; humane
- mild; gentle; clement
Per biblehub.com, agathos means excelling in any respect, distinguished, good:
- of a good constitution or nature
Luke 8:15 (NIV)
But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.
- useful, salutary
Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.
- of the feeling awakened by what is good, pleasant, agreeable, joyful, happy
1 Peter 3:10-11 (Psalm 34:12-14)
“Whoever would love life and see good days
must keep their tongue from evil
and their lips from deceitful speech.
They must turn from evil and do good;
they must seek peace and pursue it.”
- excellent, distinguished
“Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked.“Come and see,” said Philip.
When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.”
- upright, honorable
They sent Barnabas to Antioch . . . He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.
Agatha is a good name. Can we live up to it?
My mother’s name is Mary, but she is an Agatha. When God nudges me to be more kind, his voice sounds a lot like my mother’s.
When I was young, she often shut down my gossip, my whining and my anger with “If you can’t say something nice about someone, don’t say anything at all.”
When I am ready to pass on a tasty tidbit of gossip, I hear God say,
This isn’t necessary. Just don’t say anything at all.
When others are piling the criticism on an absent victim, God says,
You can shut this down. Say something nice.
My mother was big on the Golden Rule. I often heard, “How would you feel if someone did that to you?”
Now, when I’m about to let loose with a litany of complaints, God says,
How would you feel if someone said that about you?
When I see someone waiting for a break in traffic, God reminds me,
Remember how you feel when someone lets you pull in front?
Pass that good feeling unto others.
My mother made me go with her on her missions of mercy. “It won’t kill you to be kind,” she told me.
The guy ahead of me has a full cart in the 10 items or less checkout line. I hear God.
It won’t kill you to be patient.
It didn’t. I’m still here.
“The right kind of heart is a kind heart like God’s.”
I never liked the name Agatha. To my ears it sounded harsh, aggravating, the opposite of its actual meaning. I was a little like Nathanael, asking, “Can there be anything good in Agatha?”
Do you know someone who always assumes the worst? Someone who can find a black cloud in the sunniest of days?
One person I know takes any slight as a personal affront. In her mind, a call not returned is never innocent. She’s certain the other person is angry with her, and she concocts a storyline to support her suspicions. In reality, the other person simply forgot her cellphone or just went to bed early. But to my friend, the other person has rejected her.
Another acquaintance tries to build herself up by tearing someone else down. She keeps score of mistakes, careful to minimize her own errors and maximize other people’s. She can’t be happy for someone else’s success unless she herself has a bigger and better success.
And there are people who are never wrong. They can’t say, “I’m sorry,” because in their minds they have nothing to be sorry for. If you think they were wrong, you misunderstood. You owe them an apology.
These people are un-Agatha. Their goodness and kindness is in short supply.
I recognize a bit of myself in each of these un-Agathas. Sometimes being right is more important to me than being kind. I find secret joy when certain people stumble. I assign unfair motives to someone else’s actions. I focus on the dark side.
How can I change? How do I grow more Agatha in my soul?
I can focus on the Agatha in others.
The one who expects doom and gloom would rather be pleasantly surprised than rudely disappointed. She is generous with credit when things work out well.
My super-sensitive friend was raised in a culture of criticism. She is learning—albeit slowly—to trust others.
The score-keeper counts her blessings too. She loves her family and is loyal to her friends.
The know-it-all knows a lot. And he is generous with his knowledge, not hoarding it for his own advancement but sharing it in an honest effort to help others.
It isn’t just a matter of being Agatha. It is seeing Agatha in others too.
It is choice. Choose to be and see more Agatha.