The most vivid memory I have of my grandmother is when we were talking in her living room about 24 years ago. I was a mother of two and had been a Christian for about a year. My husband and I were having difficulty agreeing on whether or not to have more children. I decided for the first time ever to pray for guidance. A short three months later, I found myself telling my grandmother of our dilemma and my decision to pray. I confidently and proudly asserted that God decided and I was expecting a baby in eight months. Without missing a beat, my grandmother responded with, “Oh, is that who you’re going to blame?” I was shattered.
We all have different family backgrounds. Some were raised in Christian homes (God bless you!) and some of us attended church but biblical truths and principles were never discussed and applied to daily living. Still, others were raised in homes where God and Jesus were not even on the radar. I have noticed something about God’s Word – when He gives a command, there are no conditions attached. He does not say forgive others if they apologize; love others, if they are loving; or submit, if your husband loves the Lord. He simply says to forgive, love, and submit. Respecting your elders is no different.
In 1 Peter 5:5, we read, “Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another; For God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
That is interesting. I do not see, “Respect or submit to your grandmother if she responds in a godly or even a caring way.” However, I do see a promise of God’s grace. God’s fourth commandment reads: “Honor your father and mother, as the Lord your God commanded you” (Deuteronomy 5:16). No conditions are noted but we find a promise of long life attached to it. Many commentators agree that this is a “multigenerational attitude of respect” and applies to grandparents. As I combed through articles, I found commentators suggesting this is an “outdated sentiment.” Historically, this saying meant that elders should be respected because of their knowledge and experience. However, since the young of our culture know more than the older it is an irrelevant saying. Believer, we are called to respect our elders because of who they are (His creation); not because of what they know or have accomplished. He also sites situations where the older have mistreated the younger. Believer, the sin of others does not negate God’s commands. His command is not based on what our elders deserve. We are called to: Just Do It!
As a new grandmother, I feel compelled to address my fellow grandparents. I have a 9-month granddaughter, Leah Kate. As much as I love my children, there is nothing like the love I have for my granddaughter. She has done nothing to earn my love but as Proverbs 17:6 says, she is her Grammy’s “crown.” I know many grandparents who have become very critical of their children’s parenting skills and stunned by the behavior of their grandchildren. Psalm 145:4 says that we are to share God’s works with the younger generation. Grandparent, have you introduced your grandchild to the One who saves and transforms lives? I constantly hear grandparents complain they are overburdened with caring for their grandchildren and others complain they hardly see them. Too much time, too little time – the real question is, “How are you spending your time with them?” Are you sharing stories of the amazing works God has done in your life? Proverbs 13:22 says, “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children.” Have you spent half the time making sure they receive an eternal inheritance through Jesus Christ as you have on their temporal (material) inheritance?
One more thought: My parents and grandparents were (are) very good at telling stories of their youth. They love telling stories about how hard they had it or how they “went without.” I do not remember them sharing who got them through it. My parents and grandparents did not have a personal relationship with Jesus to depend upon and to share with other generations. I do. I am determined to make sure Leah Kate knows the Savior Grammy serves. Honestly, this intimidates me. I have never seen it done. However, God is faithful to equip me (Ephesians 4:12).
I intend to pray and then: “Just Do It!”