How to Love and Respect Those in Their Golden Years 

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How to Love and Respect Those in Their Golden Years 

Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord.  Leviticus 19:32

We are in the final preparations of celebrating my in-laws’ 60th wedding anniversary and stunningly, all four of our children, their spouses and children can attend—15 total! I am so grateful to God all of us made it a priority to honor James and Jean with our presence at their momentous milestone. Their steadfast love can be felt and seen in the DNA of those they have loved so well all these years. Now we have the privilege to lavishly love them on their lifetime achievement. Love and respect for those in their golden years is golden in the sight of God.

Advanced 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 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, and before you know it they will be gone. How many more days do you have with a parent, grandparent, or mentor?

“Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance” (Titus 2:2).

As the sand is rushing toward the bottom of the hourglass, 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 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 do or do not want to live your life. Look for those life snapshots that you can emulate and pass down to your children and your children’s children.

Respect for your elders may express itself with them visiting you rather than you visiting them. They may need to move in with you so you can love them twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Yes, this is a huge commitment. It is harder to “raise” your parents than 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. Do not 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.

“Now Elihu had waited before speaking to Job because they were older than he” (Job 32:4).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me a caring heart for those in my life who are older, who desire and deserve my love and respect, in Jesus’ name, amen.

Application: How can I schedule regular time to learn from and love the elderly?

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


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