Pastor’s Pen: Treat them as family

There are times when a fellow believer needs to be corrected. They were rude or disrespectful or just simply doing things that are wrong. How do we approach those people?

I think 1 Timothy 5:1-2 gives us the answer for not only that situation but in dealing with fellow believers on a day to day basis. It says this, “Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father.”

When someone older than me in the church is doing something wrong I shouldn’t just stand up and condemn him in front of everyone, but treat him the way I would my own father, a godly father. If my father was doing something I thought was wrong or inappropriate I would talk to him privately and respectfully. I wouldn’t demean him, as though he was less than me, but I would respect him and encourage him to do the right thing. That is how I should treat older men in my church as well.

It’s easy to become angry and lash out or gossip about how terrible they are, yet God says to treat them with respect and honor them as I should my own father. I should listen to their advice and wisdom. I should think of them as someone worthy of my listening ear. But God doesn’t stop there. The verses continue:

“Treat younger men as brothers…” I need to treat those my age and younger as I would my own brother. That means they are family to me. I desire for them to do well and when they do well the family name is honored.

I step up to help them when they are in need. I have no doubt that if I had a dire need my brother would be right there. I have no doubt that if someone was lashing out against me my brother would back me up. I have no doubt that he is a support that I can count on. This should be the same for your brothers in Christ. Treat them as family.

The verse goes on “Treat older women as mothers…” Those women that are fellow believers are also to be treated as family. Treat them like a godly mother. Be sure they are cared for, speak of them with honor and show them respect. Will they do everything as you would? No. But honor them. Listen intently to what they have to say. Love them and care about them as you would your own mom.

Lastly God tells us “Treat younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.” So those woman that are your age and younger should be treated as you would a sister. You don’t gossip about her or attempt to make her look bad. You lift her up and applaud when she does well.

You are to respect her. I like to use this verse when young men ask me about how far they can go with their girlfriend. If you treat her with respect like an honorable man would treat his sister then you know the answer to that question. Treat her like a sister with absolute purity.

The idea here is to treat those who follow Christ as if they were close family members. Respect them, love them and be there for them. If we did that for every member of the family of God then it would be a family others would desire to join.