Saturday, April 8, 2023
Never speak harshly to an older man, but appeal to him respectfully as you would to your own father. Talk to younger men as you would to your own brothers. Treat older women as you would your mother, and treat younger women with all purity as you would your own sisters.
As we begin to understand the grace and love of God that saved us, especially when we realize that Jesus demonstrated these to us when we were unworthy,  then we must respond by treating others with gentleness and respect.  Jesus didn't just die for us; He also died to save those around us. Everyone in God's family is someone for whom Christ died and should be treated with respect, dignity, and love. 
Paul mentored Timothy, his handpicked ministry trainee. Since Timothy had not seen Jesus in person as he grew into early manhood, Paul wanted to give Timothy specific instructions on treating each age group honorably. These verses are some of the ways Paul instructed Timothy. As a servant of Christ and minister to Jesus' people, Paul wanted Timothy to understand that he must treat each group with respect and purity. Paul also wanted Timothy to recognize the importance of cultural and biblical expectations for handling himself in different relationships. 
A couple of principles are helpful for us as we look at Paul's instructions and apply them to our relationships:
It's popular in today's Western cultures to claim we treat everyone equally. Treating people fairly and respectfully is essential. But each person, and that person's station in life, needs to be considered as we seek to treat each other as fellow members of Jesus' family. Love should flavor each relationship. Propriety and respect should motivate our actions. We must treat each other as Jesus has served and blessed us, and this the Lord's attitude should lie behind our every word and action. 
Father, I do not trust my instinctive reactions to people. I realize that I often do not naturally respond to people with the respect and redemptive attention they need and deserve. I am asking that as I learn more about Jesus, I will treat each person I meet as uniquely needing to know Your love and discover Your grace. As Paul taught Timothy respectful ways to interact with different ages and genders, I ask that the Spirit helps me speak in helpful ways. I ask for this grace in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Together in Christ is a daily devotional that focuses on what Scripture teaches about godly living in relationships.
'Together in Christ' is written by Phil Ware.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
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