You shall stand up before the gray head and honor the face of an old man, and you shall fear your God: I am the Lord. Leviticus 19:32 ESV
Wisdom is with the aged,
and understanding in length of days. Job 12:12 ESV
I lived in China for two years, and I learned to love the people there and many things about their culture. The one thing that I appreciated the most was the care and respect the Chinese people show to the elderly. My mother visited me in China two times, and both times everyone was very kind and considerate of her needs, much more than I ever saw in the United States. I remember one time especially, when we were walking through a lovely Chinese park. There was a step that was a little bit high, and she tried, but she couldn’t make it down the step. A gardener was nearby, and he came running. He took my mother on his back and carried her down! He saw that she was old and that she needed help, and he rushed to help her.
God calls his people to show care and respect like that for the elderly. Sometimes we might feel uncomfortable with people who are old. Sometimes their minds become confused, or they aren’t able to take care of themselves. It’s too easy to get impatient and disrespectful, or to just avoid being with them. But God calls on us to respect and love them. If they are weak and need help, God wants us to help them. Often the elderly have wisdom because of how long they have lived on earth. God calls us to learn from the elderly, and not always think we are smarter than them or know better than they do.
Sin causes problems between older people and younger people. It makes young people impatient and disrespectful. It can sometimes make older people cross and unpleasant, too. When older people become confused in their minds or weak in their bodies, that’s the effect of sin on the whole world. We need Jesus’ help and forgiveness for not always giving elderly people the respect and care God wants us to give them. It’s so wonderful that Jesus went to the cross for these sins, too! We can always be sure that God forgives all our sins for Jesus’ sake, and that he sends his Holy Spirit to help us live the way he wants us too, including in the love and concern we give to older people.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of older people in our lives. Help us to treat them with care and respect. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.