How To View Others
A daily devotion for November 14th
1Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, 2older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.
3Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. 4But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God. 5The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help. 6But the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives. 7Give the people these instructions, too, so that no one may be open to blame. 8If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
9No widow may be put on the list of widows unless she is over sixty, has been faithful to her husband, 10and is well known for her good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the saints, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds.
11As for younger widows, do not put them on such a list. For when their sensual desires overcome their dedication to Christ, they want to marry. 12Thus they bring judgment on themselves, because they have broken their first pledge. 13Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying things they ought not to. 14So I counsel younger widows to marry, to have children, to manage their homes and to give the enemy no opportunity for slander. 15Some have in fact already turned away to follow Satan.
16If any woman who is a believer has widows in her family, she should help them and not let the church be burdened with them, so that the church can help those widows who are really in need.
Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity (1 Timothy 5:1-2).
Hidden in that verse is another one of those profound psychological insights so frequently found in Scripture, which says that the way you treat people depends on how you see them. In the world, almost everyone falls into the category of a rival who is trying to beat the competition or a friend who can be used to get ahead. As Christians, however, we are to have a very different view of other people. Paul tells this young pastor to look at older men as he would look at his own father: to view them as men with some degree of experience, men who have survived crises in their lives, men who have developed a certain degree of understanding and wisdom.
Further, Paul tells Timothy to view young men as though they were his brothers. Again, this reminds Timothy that there is a family relationship involved. Young men are not his rivals, his enemies; they are his brothers. A brotherly relationship implies openness and honesty with one another with respect and concern for each other. When a young man sees other young men as brothers, he will treat them as such.
Paul tells Timothy to treat the older women as mothers. I remember various older women who were like mothers to me when I was a young man. As a result, I learned to treat them with great respect for the wisdom and love they manifested to me.
Paul then tells Timothy that a young pastor should treat younger women as sisters--with love, with interest and concern, but certainly without any attempts at sexual involvement. That is why Paul adds the words,
with absolute purity. A young pastor is to be pure in his intentions, his attitudes, and his dealings with the younger women in a congregation. There would be nothing wrong with Timothy's developing a romantic relationship that might eventually lead to marriage with a young woman in the congregation, but Paul is simply reminding him that the normal relationship of a young pastor to young women is that of a brother who is helping them, seeking to understand them.
Thank You, Lord, that when You called me You placed me in a family. Teach me to view others around me as fathers, mothers, sisters, and brothers in Christ.
Life Application: Healthy relationships mandate mutual respect. Are we diligent to see others as persons for whom Christ died? Do we respect God's prerogative in everyone's life?
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