July 10, 2009

Respect The Elderly

Written by Boyd Bailey

Respect The Elderly… “Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord.” Leviticus 19:32

Years can bring improvement in decision-making, perspective, understanding of people and our intimacy with God and those closest to us. The elderly represent a plethora of wisdom waiting to be tapped. They tell stories of real life events that challenge, educate and entertain. Those approaching their twilight years, who love Jesus, have an eternal perspective that is infectious. They see God for who He is.

Yet with all of these potential positive traits, we stutter at spending time with the aged, even those who are our own flesh and blood. Why is this so? Yes, some are hard to get along with; others reek of body staleness (having been trapped indoors), and others are very high maintenance. This is hard, yet it is temporary. Before you know it they will be gone. How many more days do you have with a parent, grandparent or mentor?

As the sand is rushing toward the bottom of the hour-glass, what are some ways you can demonstrate respect toward the elderly? One way is to spend time with them. Perhaps it is a regular visit to the nursing home or retirement center. Love on them by showing up with flowers and by reading an uplifting portion of Scripture. Listen to their hopes, dreams and regrets. Throughout your conversation with the elderly capture in your memory the nuggets of wisdom, thoughts, ideas and places that resonate with how you want to live your life or not want to live your life. Look for those life snapshots that you can emulate and pass down to your children and children’s children.

Or, respect for your elders may express itself in them visiting you, rather than you visiting them. They may need to move in with you so you can love on them 24/7. Yes, this is a huge commitment. It is harder to ‘raise’ your parents that it is to ‘raise’ your children. Their needs are more complicated and they certainly do not want to be told what to do, but you love them anyway.

You respect them, even when they are not respectable. Seize this time. Don’t let it slip by in the abyss of busyness. It is an opportunity for your kids to experience how you would like for them to treat you one day. Your respect for the elderly is a reflection of your reverence for God. Love, serve and respect them as if you were doing the same for Christ. How can I schedule regular time to learn from and love on the elderly?

Related Readings: Job 32:4-6; Proverbs 16:31; Romans 13:7; 1 Timothy 5:1-2

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