Insights into Ageing (5)
Respect for our elders has traditionally been a strength of our culture. However todays’ western influence sees this respect increasingly replaced by the worship of rock stars and sports figures. How foolish! As God’s family we should treat one another according to His values. Consider how He wants us to regard our elders. First, we must honour them: ‘...Show respect for the elderly and revere your God...’ (Leviticus 19:32 NIV) Notice, it’s a commandment, not an option. Failing to respect the elderly is failing to respect God; it bears the divine, not the cultural, signature! So remember it and teach it to your children. ‘A grey head is a crown of glory; it is found in the way of righteousness.’ (Proverbs 16:31 NAS)
Second, we must encourage them. Encouraging them doesn’t mean patronising, babying and doing everything for them. These behaviours destroy their dignity and disempower them. Encouraging them means believing in their God-given abilities and emphasising their positive, productive qualities. It means motivating them to stay involved in significant service, not just busying them with meaningless and humiliating mundane tasks. They feel like they’re making a difference when their skills and wisdom are recognised.
Third, we must support them. This includes financial and material assistance offered according to practical, Biblical guidelines (1 Timothy 5:1–16). Failing here means we’ve ‘...denied the faith and [are] worse than an unbeliever.’ (1 Timothy 5:8 NKJV) Support means including them as a vital part of our family and church activities. It also requires that we regularly talk to God about them and their needs.