Jeremiah 6-8 1 Timothy 5
“Do not speak angrily to an older man, but plead with him as if he were your father. Treat younger men like brothers, older women like mothers, and younger women like sisters. Always treat them in a pure way.” (1 Timothy 5:1-2 NCV)
People in charge have a tendency to bark orders to others and expect others to obey them. As an old coach used to say, “When I say, ‘Jump!’ You ask, ‘How high.’” Paul recognized that tendency and warned Timothy against acting that way, counseling him to show respect to all people. Rather than ordering people around and getting angry when things weren’t done right or on time, Paul admonished Timothy to reason with older men. Older women were to be treated like mothers and younger men and women treated like brothers and sisters. Some might point out that brothers and sisters will often fight and argue with each other. While that’s true, when a family works together, brothers and sisters who argue among themselves will stick together when they deal with outside problems.
Treating people with respect is still, unfortunately, a radical idea. Radical as it may seem, though, that’s the way the Church should work. We’re called to set an example to the world in all areas of behavior and how we deal with interpersonal relationships is one of the most important views people in the world have of the church. Let’s face it: we’ve failed miserably on this subject. Most major denominations exist because we couldn’t get along. Baptists plant churches when the original one splits over arguments. While the origin of this quote is disputed, the meaning is important for Christians today: “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.” We may never agree on what’s essential or not, but we can always show charity or love. What would happen in our world if we showed respect to those older than us by treating them as loving parents? What would happen in our world is we respected those people our age and younger as brothers and sisters. I think the world would be a much better place. Let’s not wait for the whole world to start doing that, though. I’m going to try and do that every day. Join me.
Lord, people want to know that they’re loved and respected. Use me to show them Your redeeming love. Help me learn to show proper respect to people, especially when I disagree with them.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.