“Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity.” (1 Timothy 5:1–2, ESV)
Paul lays out some principles telling Timothy how he should relate to some different types of people. Older men should not be rebuked. The word rebuke carries with it the idea of strong disapproval and punishment. If circumstances dictate that an older man is in need of correction, Timothy should not be discourteous, impolite, rude, or condescending. Instead, Timothy should come alongside him with respect, love, and concern as he would his own father. Younger men should be treated as brothers. They should be supported, encouraged, and comforted as a beloved brother. Likewise, older women should be honored and treated with great care. Younger women must be treated as sisters in purity. Timothy should be mindful of the way he treats the younger women and not trifle with their emotions. Timothy should not flirt or lust after them, but he should treat them with the utmost respect. They should be treated with the same kind of innocence as a sister. These are timeless principles which should be practiced within the church which will help to keep good and healthy relationships. Our culture does not always honor those who are older. Instead of recognizing that there may be value in the wisdom and experience these precious mothers and fathers in the faith represent, they are sometimes too quickly dismissed because they have a different outlook or are perceived as too antiquated in their ideas. Let our aim be to treat those older than we are with the same respect we should show to our parents as well as come alongside and encourage people who are the same age as we are, and treat members of the opposite sex with purity.