Yesterday Ray and I chatted with one of our children about the impact that popular culture has had on spiritual beliefs at various times in history. The conversation centered on the impact that the modern “I want to do whatever I want to do and you can’t tell me otherwise” culture is having on what people believe.
As I shared in the conversation yesterday, I believe that this “I want to do whatever I want to do and you can’t tell me otherwise” thinking has negative impacts on the family. It makes rearing children harder and it makes honoring fathers and mothers less likely.
Our conversation reminded me of a quote I saw recently and had been thinking about discussing with you. While looking for information about a female figure in history, I went to the website of a women’s hall of fame in a particular state. I saw a quote there. I don’t remember the exact wording but the gist was this:
Because men write history and women don’t, women don’t have the benefit of history and have to keep reinventing what they need to do.
It’s true that we read more about men than about women in history, and it’s been true that men have written most of the history (although that is changing, with many good female historians now on the scene). But the story of history is the human story, the story of men and women. Men and women came on the Mayflower; men and women established homesteads on the prairie.
We can have the benefit of history and make our journey easier by learning from Scripture and from those who are older and wiser.
I’m not saying that it is not difficult to know exactly what we need to do in every situation. I struggle with that. However, I believe that God has given us women what we need to know so that we can do what we need to do.
Grace and peace be multiplied to you
in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord;
seeing that His divine power
has granted to us everything
pertaining to life and godliness,
through the true knowledge of Him
who called us by His own glory and excellence.
1 Peter 1:3
God also gave us older women.
Older women likewise
are to be reverent in their behavior,
not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine,
teaching what is good,
so that they may encourage the young women
to love their husbands, to love their children,
to be sensible, pure, workers at home,
kind, being subject to their own husbands,
so that the word of God will not be dishonored.
A basic truth is that we must be careful who we listen to. Are we listening to God’s Word? Are we listening to older women? We women never outgrow the need for either. I know that I haven’t.
One of the many sad things I have noticed especially this year is disregard for older people. How many times have we heard that we don’t really need to be concerned about COVID, since it isn’t as hard on younger people as it is on older ones? Not every culture treats older people that way. Many Native American nations, for example, have great respect for their older members. They realize that when the older people die, they have lost important knowledge. In their thinking, older people are not expendable, but of great value. Last night I read that in cultures around the world, people are rushing to learn native languages from older people before the opportunity is lost forever.
Well, enough about the topic we are all tired of talking and thinking about (meaning COVID) and back to my topic for today . . .
It isn’t only indigenous people who lose a great deal when an older person dies. However, the wisdom of older people won’t help us if we don’t listen to them or respect what we hear. One of the many things we learn from Jesus is that every person matters.
And concerning those older people in our lives who can help us not have to keep reinventing what to do:
You shall rise up before the gray-headed
and honor the aged,
and you shall revere your God;
I am the Lord.
Listen to your father who begot you,
And do not despise your mother
when she is old.
Do not sharply rebuke an older man,
but rather appeal to him as a father,
to the younger men as brothers,
the older women as mothers,
and the younger women as sisters, in all purity.
1 Timothy 5:1-2
You younger men, likewise,
be subject to your elders;
and all of you, clothe yourselves
with humility toward one another,
for God is opposed to the proud,
but gives grace to the humble.
1 Peter 5:5