"You shall rise up before the grayheaded, and honor the aged"
Keep your seat clean!
According to NBC News, by the year 2050, those 65 years and older will make up 20% of the
worlds population. So, what does the Bible teach us about how to treat our elders? Plenty! From the
Books of the Torah through the New Testament, you'll find wisdom as well as commands on this very
subject. Leviticus 19:32 says "You shall rise up before the grayheaded, and honor the aged". Ahh, "honor", a foreign word to much of the population. "Tolerate" at best for most. Western cultures tend to glorify youth, and sadly, have little respect for the elderly. Contrarily, China has its "elderly rights law" in place to protect it's seniors. The law actually states to "never neglect or snub elderly people", as well as mandates visits for elderly parents. Where the norm in America is to find a suitable nursing home or an assisted living environment for its aging, Koreans see it as an honor to care for their parents. There's that word again, "honor"... as in Exodus 20:12, where "honor your mother and father..." is a commandment with the promise of prolonged days. Should one be respected less because they are eligible for social security? Hardly. The wisdom and experience that comes with age should be revered. One need not be techie to have value. As pride and arrogance increase in our youth, its difficult for them to see the relevance in Proverbs 23:22. It says to "listen to your father who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old". Many youngsters would avoid hardships if they listened and heeded the advice and counsel of their elders, primarily their parents. You'll find a frightening result of parental disrespect in Proverbs 30:17. "The eye that mocks a father and scorns to obey a mother, will be picked out by the ravens of the valley and eaten by the vultures". Whether or not there are ravens or vultures in your neck of the woods, its clear that what awaits those who mock and scorn their parents is not pleasant.
Who wouldn't want to live in a world where everyone considered the welfare of others, regardless of age or health conditions? Practically speaking, the very idea that one day each of us will be older and in need of assistance, should be sobering enough to compel us to treat our elders how we would want to be treated in our golden years. What's that rule? Oh yes, coincidentally, "the golden rule" is one that we may apply to elder care. Surprisingly, much of the population quote this rule without knowing its origin. You'll find it in the book of Matthew.
Chapter 7, verse 12 says "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you...". Just
imagine yourself at 65, 75, 85. What would you want others to do to you?