[CF Devotionls] 2016-10-11 - What People Say ~ Age-Related Comments

And What the Bible Says About It

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First, I would like to clarify something that I mentioned in my most recent devotional in this series. Later, I realized that what I shared was incomplete. The one medical professional that told Richard to "work harder" and "work tediously" didn't know him well, and wasn't involved with his everyday care, though she had a very important role in his case. But in fact, every single one of his daily Physical Therapists said they had to watch out to ensure that he didn't OVERDO it. As one of them said, he is very motivated and hard-working, but the Physical Therapy for Guillain-Barre patients is different than normal PT, with more frequent breaks, less duration needed etc. Anyone who knows Richard, knows the thing to watch for is always the possibility of OVERdoing it! So she was off the mark in several ways! I apologize for the lack of clarity. That is what happens, when one writes a devotional with only two hours of sleep!

Age-related Comments to Those in Crisis

Richard and I haven't heard a lot of these comments, but unfortunately, we have too often heard age-related comments made to people all along the age spectrum. Starting with babies, parents who have lost a cherished infant or fetus are sometimes told "don't worry; you can have other babies," as if that will make up for the deep pain of the loss of that precious child, as well as the hopes and expectations they have had. Middle-aged people are sometimes "comforted" with thoughts such as "at least, s/he has lived a good life so far, and it isn't as bad as if it happened to a younger person." But in fact, we who are middle-aged or Seniors are often more aware of the shortness of life, and what the changes mean. As Richard has said in our case, we have already lost almost a year of our lives, and we are going to cherish every moment even more than before. This dovetails with the comments related to older folks who experience a serious illness, catastrophe or death: "At least s/he had a full life." That type of thinking does not lessen the grief of the family members at all, nor does it encourage the ill or victimized elderly person who has lost a home, livelihood, abilities to function normally or anything else.

In fact, God has always used people of all ages, and the Bible teaches us that life of all ages is equally valuable to Him.

Jeremiah 1:5
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
And before you were born I consecrated you;
I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.

Job 12:12
Wisdom is with aged men,
With long life is understanding.

1 Timothy 5:1a (MSG)
Don’t be harsh or impatient with an older man. Talk to him as you would your own father.

1 Timothy 5: 3-8 (MSG) Take care of widows who are destitute. If a widow has family members to take care of her, let them learn that religion begins at their own doorstep and that they should pay back with gratitude some of what they have received. This pleases God immensely. You can tell a legitimate widow by the way she has put all her hope in God, praying to him constantly for the needs of others as well as her own. But a widow who exploits people’s emotions and pocketbooks—well, there’s nothing to her. Tell these things to the people so that they will do the right thing in their extended family. Anyone who neglects to care for family members in need repudiates the faith. That’s worse than refusing to believe in the first place.

9-10 Sign some widows up for the special ministry of offering assistance. They will in turn receive support from the church. They must be over sixty, married only once, and have a reputation for helping out with children, strangers, tired Christians, the hurt and troubled.

As has been true with all of these well-intentioned but backfiring comments, often it's best to simply remain silent, and offer a support of presence.

Series to be continued.

[email jan] Janice P. Moser

All scripture references are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) unless otherwise noted.

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