Words from the Heart for Monday July 18, 2016
Never speak harshly to an older man, but appeal to him respectfully as you would to your own father. Talk to younger men as you would to your own brothers. Treat older women as you would your mother, and treat younger women with all purity as you would your own sisters.
1 Timothy 5:1-2 (NLT)
Respect for the Elderly
In a world that does not respect authority, a Christian’s life is counter-cultural. Honour is shown by treating those who are older than us as we would a parent and respecting those younger than us as though they are our siblings. How are you showing respect and honour to others?
According to a Statistics Canada report released last fall, there are now more Canadians over the age of 65 than under the age of 15. This has never happened before in the history of our nation. The data agency reported that Canada’s population sat at 35,851,800 at the start of July 2015, a figure that has increased by 308,100 or 0.9 in the past year. That’s the smallest annual increase in 17 years, but still the largest pace of growth seen in any G7 nation. Much of growth came in the form of people coming from other countries, as migration accounted for 60.8 per cent of the population growth. The rest was natural population growth, as people already in Canada had children. This milestone didn’t come as a surprise to demographers. They had seen this coming.
With 5.8 million Canadians at least 65 years old, the country is bracing for an increase in the need for support systems for seniors in the decades ahead. But there is more than just supplying for the physical needs of the elderly. The Bible calls us to the high standard of respect. Paul gives this advice to his young friend Timothy in 1 Timothy 5:1-2: “Never speak harshly to an older man, but appeal to him respectfully as you would to your own father. Talk to younger men as you would to your own brothers. Treat older women as you would your mother, and treat younger women with all purity as you would your own sisters.” Respect is at the heart of the Christian understanding of love. We cannot love others as we love ourselves unless we show respect for them. There is a concerning increase in elderly abuse in this country. Christians ought to be leading the charge in the compassionate care of the elderly. Unless the Lord calls us home before we reach that stage of life, we are going to be elderly one day. And respect for the elderly is only a part of how we ought to treat everyone. We should respect all men as we would our brother and all women as we would our sister. What a difference it would make in our homes, our churches and in society generally if we all heeded this good advice.
These have been words from the heart.