Teach the Young Women to be Discreet
In the second chapter of Titus, one of the traits the older women are exhorted to teach the younger women is to be ‘discreet’. Some versions translate it as ‘self-controlled’.
What does it mean to be discreet in a time when not only the world but also the Church is clamoring to be seen and heard with every Tweet, Facebook and Instagram post?
How do we reconcile discretion with the resounding admonishment to be transparent?
The 1828 Webster’s Dictionary defines ‘transparent’ as “admitting the passage of light”. We know Christians are light bearers.
“As light was the beginning of the first creation; so, in the new creation, the light of the Spirit is his first work upon the soul. The treasure of gospel light and grace is put into earthen vessels.” ~ Matthew Henry’s commentary on 2 Corinthians 4:6
This treasure of light and grace allows us to please God with our words and actions towards others. Just as the Apostle Paul had done when he spoke to those at Corinth;
“For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you.” 2 Corinthians 1:12
Being transparent does not mean that every thought that enters our minds is to fall out of our mouths or through the tips of our fingers.
This is where we have the opportunity and duty to exercise discretion.
“My son, do not lose sight of these— keep sound wisdom and discretion, and they will be life for your soul and adornment for your neck.” ~ Proverbs 3:21-22
Referring once more to The 1828 Webster’s Dictionary ‘discreet’ is defined as,
“Prudent; wise in avoiding errors or evil, and in selecting the best means to accomplish a purpose; circumspect; cautious; wary; not rash.”
Exercising discretion means we don’t necessarily reveal all of the information we possess. Not everyone needs access to privileged information or personal confidences. Exercising discretion may require us to simply say, “With respect, that’s private information.”
We are never to use discretion as an excuse to equivocate, manipulate or deceive. Or as an excuse to be apathetic or disobedient. As James told us,
“So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” ~ James 4:17
And as Mordecai conveyed to Esther,
“For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” ~ Esther 4:14
But rather we are to exercise discretion; to wisely examine all of the circumstances that may affect a decision or situation before acting upon it. The way in which we gain discretion is from the Lord working in our lives through the power of the Holy Spirit by the earnest study and application of His Word.
“My son, be attentive to my wisdom;incline your ear to my understanding,that you may keep discretion,and your lips may guard knowledge.” ~ Proverbs 5:1-2
Discretion will act as a hedge around our lives by preserving us from both the corruptions from within and the temptations from without.
“Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.” ~ Proverbs 2:11
Discretion is a godly attribute that provides us with the knowledge to know how to conduct ourselves as women with Christ-like integrity, not only before others but before God.
“I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, and I find knowledge and discretion.” ~ Proverbs 8:12″