Being in God’s family means that we are all brothers and sisters. We are all equal in the sight of God. Rich and poor are equally loved and valued by God; so are men and women, old and young (Galatians 3:28). So we should treat each other in ways which honour God. Older men should expect respect; they have had more experience of life and should not be rebuked or ridiculed. Older people may think more slowly so we should give them time to think and reply. If we treat older men like a loved father, we will be kind and gentle in helping them when they are wrong.
Younger men should have kind and robust relationships, in which they should encourage each other and be mutually accountable. By contrast, young men should treat the older women as they would their own mothers; especially as widows might need to rely on the care of the younger men if their own family is unable to look after them (1 Timothy 5:3-16). The younger women should not be thought of lustfully, but be protected.
The love of God should change the way we relate together. Instead of using people, we should serve them; instead of lusting, we should love; instead of belittling them, we should seek to build them up. That is why the church of Jesus Christ should be such a different place to the world. At least that is what should happen, which is why Paul sends these instructions to Timothy – so that he can demonstrate and teach how to live in the ‘household of God’ (1 Timothy 3:15). We also need to check that we are honouring the Lord every time we interact with another believer. When we practise that kind of lifestyle in the church, it will also affect the way we live at work, advertising the graciousness of Christ.
© Dr Paul Adams