1 Timothy 5:1-2
5 Don’t tell an older man off. Make an appeal to him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as if they were your brothers. 2 Treat older women as if they were your mothers. Treat younger women as if they were your sisters. Be completely pure in the way you treat them.
The adage “Respect your elders” comes to mind when I read these verses.
I have had the great honour and sometimes challenging responsibility of working in aged care and with people who would be classed as being “older,” so I have had plenty of opportunity to reflect on how and why we are called to respect the elders of our community – I’m not just an appointed elder in terms of a position in church or society, but anyone who is “full of years.”
My experience has taught me that older people who act in a way that earns respect are incredibly easy to treat in a respectful way, but I think that this verse that Paul writes (and Timothy was a younger man), is meant to set a standard of treating all older people with respect, regardless of their behaviour. This is an enormous challenge in our culture where older people often seem to be undervalued. Elders who don’t take on the rapidly changing values of society are commonly treated like children. In our current context, I believe that this passage is a great call for us to be counter-cultural by maintaining the patient and respectful manner towards older people that has nearly been lost in our day.
Lord, we pray that you would bless the elderly in our community and that you would help us as the church be a part of that blessing through showing love, grace and respect to the list generations in ways that show the glory of heaven.
Written by Justin Ware