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Poor Lady? No, Poor Boys!
How do we relate to the elderly? As Christians we can contribute and help make their added years a good experience for them.

I cannot forget an incident I recently witnessed in a grocery store.

An elderly, crippled little lady with a walker containing a few items turned into a checkout when two young boys rushed past her. She in a quiet voice said, "I was here first." The boys looked at her, when their dad, who was coming up, said, "No, we were here first."

They have contributed so much…

Poor lady, I thought, but then I said to myself, Poor boys. Not only did their dad fail to teach them to respect the elderly, but also indicated to them that the truth can be bent if it's to your advantage.

God's Word has something to say to us regarding the elderly and/or widows. In Leviticus 19:32 we read, "Rise in the presence of the elderly, show respect to the elderly, and revere your God." Exodus 22:22 says, "Do not take advantage of the elderly." Isaiah 1:17, "Plead the cause of the widow." And Proverbs 3:18 tell us, "Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves."

According to these verses we have an awesome responsibility toward the elderly.

I think we also need to be a strong link between the elderly and our youth in word and deed.

With today's scientific advances and medical miracles, people live longer. Are we as Christians contributing to making these added years good years for them?

We applaud the government for caring for our seniors with a pension, subsidized housing, and Medicare, but monetary things are not all they need.

The care they get at various institutions and care homes may be good, the food healthy, the rooms clean, but what if they're removed out of their community? They have contributed so much to family, church, community, and paid taxes for years. Does that not count for anything?

Often the elderly will say, "We have it so good" or "We have much to be thankful for." Yet loneliness is the one thing that many will say is the most difficult about growing old. We have neatly settled them into that senior's apartment or care home where they'll be well taken care of, and we have left. Or have we?

How fast a day, a week, or even a month goes by when we're busy. Even a two-hour movie goes by so fast. But have you ever thought of visiting a lonely senior together with your children?

Next to loneliness many elderly may face doubts and fears about what may be lying ahead of them. How will their earthly pilgrimage end? Will they suffer long? Will their family or doctor consider euthanasia as an option? Will there be someone to "speak up for them when they cannot speak for themselves" anymore?

In our modern society, where we seem to have it all and know it all, do we tend to forget the wisdom and knowledge of our elderly, the invaluable things they have taught us, and the sacrifices they made for us?

Rather than forgetting, may we be found faithful in giving respect, dignity, honour, love, and security to our elderly at any cost.

Bettie Kehler is part of Blumenort EMC. Bettie and Peter Kehler have worked both with youth and elderly.

Originally published in The Messenger, October 3, 2007.

 

 
 
 
 

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