S208P6 – A new family: to regard and exalt

1 Tim. 5:1‭-‬2

Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, with all purity.

We walked to school together for about a year during grade school.  He lived around the corner from me, and I cannot recall how the arrangement began, but I would stop to get him every morning.  He was a year or two younger than I, so I was kind of an older brother.  No one ever sat me down to tell me that I was responsible for that boy, but it was something I understood.  I remember feeling like this was a job I had to do well.  If we were late, that was on me.  If we misbehaved and got into trouble, that was on me.  I was the youngest in my family, but now I felt like a big brother, and I knew what our family expected of someone in that role.  On those walks, it was for me to look after him. 

Every member of the Church has multiple roles.  To all I will be a brother.  To some I will be a son.  To others I will be a father.  From a sociological standpoint, familial relationships are critical to our growth and well-being.  Of course, these relationships will be healthy and enriching only if we maintain them correctly.  In order to treat older brothers as fathers, we first have to know how we are to treat our fathers.  We should respect them and honor them.  We treat our spiritual fathers as we would our natural fathers, and the hope is that we actually treat our natural fathers this way.  This instruction is a lesson for our engagement with the Church as well as a check on how we engage with our natural families. 

God has these expectations of us because He has designed these roles for a purpose.  He sends us out to walk through life, but He sends no one out alone.  We have those whom we will watch over, and some will watch over us.  In caring for one another this way, the world should see this close bond among us.  There should be an obvious interdependence within the Church that also shows mutual respect and care.  These are critical ways in which we differ from the world, and we cannot direct the world to the Lord if we have not put them into practice.  Father, help us to treat one another with respect and consideration, caring for our brothers and sisters as You care for your Church.