1 Timothy 5:1-2 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.

Our loving Creator, in whose likeness and image we were made (Genesis 1:27), has so designed us that family relationships are very important and precious to him.

He designed us male and female in order that one man and one woman might come together and be bound by covenant in an exclusive and permanent bond (Genesis 2:24).  The first commandment given to the first man and woman was to “be fruitful and increase in number” (Genesis 1:28) so that “children are a heritage from the LORD” (Psalm 127:3).

It is clear from the whole of Scripture that all this is very important to God and for human wellbeing for a number of reasons.

Firstly, God wants us to enjoy fully all his blessings by living in the way for which we were designed.

Secondly, these relationships also reflect his relationship with us.  He discloses himself to us as both a ‘Father’ who promises to protect and provide for those who belong to him, and as a ‘Bridegroom/Husband’ who is committed to his people in a trustworthy covenant relationship for ever.

Thirdly, he wants the nuclear family to be a model for how all his people are to relate to one another.  His Church is to see itself as a family.  In the light of all this, it is not surprising that God’s enemy, Satan, would be most active in disrupting these relationships and dismantling the whole structure as much as he possibly can.

Sadly, in our own society, Satan seems to be making significant headway in this at every level.  It is disconcerting to see the degree to which same-sex relationships are accepted by so many as not being totally inconsistent with God’s design; to see the degree to which male-female sexual relationships are approved of without the covenant commitment of marriage; to see the degree to which marriages are failing; and to see the degree to which church relationships are disrupted by disharmony, bickering and bitterness within the church ‘family’.  The Apostle Paul was no doubt concerned about how prone we are in our fallen nature to allowing Satan to gain, not only a ‘foothold’ (Ephesians 4:27), but the upper hand in his wicked schemes.  This is why he wrote as he did to Timothy about being attentive to all our relationships.  Let us be thankful for God’s grace in our many situations where Satan is not succeeding; but let us also be active in seeking to follow Paul’s directions in these things.
– Bruce Christian