RELIGION: Honor your elders to gain wisdom

"I have been young, and now am old; Yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread." Psalm 37: 25

Age has its prerogatives, or it used to. Most of us in the over-50 generation were taught to revere our elders.

I'm not sure about all of the labels, but the demographic cohort labels my generation as the Baby Boomers.

Baby Boomers are purportedly those born after World War II, basically from 1946 to 1964. Gen X is after the Baby Boomers (usually from the mid-1960s to the late 1970s) and the Millennials are after that, from 1981 to 1996. And now, that is being followed by Gen Z and then by Gen Alpha.

Scripture tells us to "stand up before the gray head and honor the face of an old man, and you shall fear your God: I am the Lord," Leviticus 19:32.

In the New Testament, we are told: "Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders." (I Peter 5:5)

In both the Old and New Testaments, we're told to honor our fathers and our mothers. (Exodus 20:12; Matthew 19:19)

There are many Scriptures admonishing the younger to respect and learn from their elders.

When King Solomon died, his son Rehoboam consulted the elders and his peers. He did not listen to the elders' advice and a divided kingdom was the result.

I have been guilty of pride and arrogance and in my youth foolishly thought I knew more than I actually did. Now, I hear my mother's and grandmother's words echo in my head and sometimes come out of my mouth.

Today, our culture idolizes youth. We pay for it, we chase it, we color our hair and use various products to hide our wrinkles and age.

Not too long ago, at a gathering of my peers, I realized I was the only one who had not had surgery, implants, injections or dyed hair trying to regain something I had long since passed.

I'm not deriding people doing what they can to look their best, but if it is a rejection of who they are, maybe we should consider out motives.

J. Vernon McGee (a former pastor and Bible teacher) said, when asked about the use of make-up, which some denominations condemn, "If the barn door needs painting, paint it."

Several podcasts and radio programs I heard recently were of young women whose children are not yet teenagers, teaching how to parent. They may be wise. They may have good counsel. But, there is still much for them to learn.

When learning a new skill, from whom should to take lessons -- the accomplished person or the one who just recently learned the skill?

It seems obvious that it would be the accomplished person.

Maybe we should reconsider listening to our elders and honoring them and learning from their many years of experience.

A friend who has recently celebrated more than 45 years of a successful marriage expressed a similar opinion when she said it's really difficult for her to listen to marriage advice from people who have been married 15 years.

Consider the words from the book of wisdom.

"A wise son hears his father's instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke." Proverbs 13:1

"Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future." Prov. 19:20

"Listen to your father who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old." Prov. 23:22

--Annette Beard is the managing editor of The Times of Northeast Benton County in Pea Ridge. She has nine grown children, six sonsin-law, one daughter-in-law and 16 grandchildren. The opinions expressed are those of the author.