What does it mean to respect another person? The dictionary tells us that respect is a feeling of deep admiration or having a sense of esteem or of great worth for another person. In his first letter to Timothy (1 Timothy 5:3-8), Paul emphasises one aspect of children and grandchildren looking after the physical needs of their parents and grandparents. If your parents are old and cannot look after themselves, then their children should be the first to look after them.

Let children be kind to their parents. This may mean providing for them financially (e.g. helping them with their financial affairs, paying bills for them), but it can also mean looking after them when they cannot look after themselves (e.g. taking them to medical appointments, arranging for the care they need,  taking them into our home and caring for them there).

”Let them first learn to show godliness to their own household” (1 Timothy 5:4). The emphasis here is that since your parents supported and nourished you when you were young and helpless, so you should support them when they are old and need to be cared for. Parents should not be left to the care of the church or the government when they have children who can care for them. How can we be kind to others if we do not first show kindness and care to our own family?

Then comes the statement in 1 Timothy 5:8, if you don’t look after your own family, you have denied the faith and are worse than an unbeliever. If we profess Christ as Lord, then we do what He tells us to do. As a Christian, our faith is also shown by our actions (James 2:26). Our faith is so often seen by our actions. We are to be kind towards other people, particularly to those in need.  So when it comes to our own family members, this requirement is even more glaring. True love respects; so our parents need for respect should come first and foremost, always before us.