Treat Them Like Family

William C. Brownson

READ : 1 Timothy 5:1-2

Do not speak harshly to an older man, but speak to him as to a father, to younger men as brothers, to older women as mothers, to younger women as sisters—with absolute purity.

The church is the “family of God” in Christ Jesus. Paul wants Timothy to model that in all his dealings with the Lord’s people. Let his treatment of the elderly be like “honoring father and mother.” He may sometimes have to correct and exhort older members, but he must never scold or be harsh. Let him treat all his seniors with the affection and respect due to a parent.

In relating to men of his own age, Timothy is to be brotherly, not with a superior or condescending air, but as one with them, bound together by family ties. They ought to see him as a leader, but also as a “regular guy,” a brother and friend.

The same family pattern should hold with younger women. He is to love them as sisters. Here he will need special discretion and restraint. Paul cautions: “with all purity.” Few things bring more shame on the cause of the gospel than a minister who becomes sexually involved with parishioners.

Let Timothy never abuse his privileged leadership role by any compromising behavior. Let the younger women, Paul urges, be to him honored sisters.


Pray for Christian leaders, that they may lead lives of purity and respect.