Generational RespectMarilyn Ingram
“Mind your manners.” “Watch your tongue.” “Respect your elders.” These words have been spoken by parents for generations. The message is clear: be respectful and kind to other people, no matter their age or gender. Culture has twisted the concept of how to treat or approach another person about an issue into permission to lash out with little regard for anything other than so-called honesty. But our parents were right. Courtesy and respect should always guide us as we talk with other people.
- When was a time that you had to approach someone older or younger than you? How did it go?
Read the Word
1 Timothy 5:1-2 (ESV)
5 Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, 2 older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity.
- Who are the four different groups of people that Paul instructs Timothy on how to approach?
- How is each group to be approached?
- What is the common thread among all of the groups, as described in these verses?
- What would it look like for you to treat all people like family? With “all purity”?
- What does the way you approach and treat others reflect about your heart? About your belief in God?
Respond to God
The Bible compares believers in the church with a variety of things in real life: soldiers, runners in a race, and sheep, for example. But none are quite as relatable as when Scripture compares believers to family. Paul used that analogy when mentoring young Timothy in how to deal with people. Volumes of books have been written on interpersonal relationships. Yet, in only two verses and with only two verbs, Paul gives Timothy volumes of good advice. See each person as part of your family. Be respectful toward older men, humble with younger men, gentle with older women, and careful to avoid any impression of inappropriateness with young women. How we treat others is a glimpse into our hearts and a reflection of our God.
- Ask God to give you a heart to love and respect all people, no matter their age or gender.
- Pray that he would guide you in what you say as you relate to others today, especially those in different life stages than you.