Stand up in the presence of the elderly, and show respect for the aged. Fear your God. I am the LORD. – Leviticus 19:32
1 Timothy 5:1-2
1 Never speak harshly to an older man, but appeal to him respectfully as you would to your own father. Talk to younger men as you would to your own brothers.
2 Treat older women as you would your mother, and treat younger women with all purity as you would your own sisters.
Thousands of videotape recordings were made of TV commercials from the 70s and 80s. Actress Dena Dietrich made many memorable 30-second ads (1971–79) for Chiffon Margarine. Playing the role of ‘Mother Nature’ dressed in a white gown and adorned with a crown of daisies. The ads show ‘Mother Nature’ sampling what she believes is butter, coming straight from nature. She comments on how wonderful it is. An unseen narrator (Mason Adams) informs her, “That’s Chiffon Margarine, not butter.”
Perplexed, she replies, “it would be impossible for it to be margarine because it tastes too much like real butter.” The narrator responds, “the margarine is indeed so close to real butter that it could fool even ‘Mother Nature.’”
Dietrich angrily responds, “It’s not nice to fool ‘Mother Nature!’” She commands nature to act out and bad things happen.
Disrespect for authority can have major negative consequences.
The New York Times has written that, ‘‘OK Boomer’ marks the end of friendly generational relations. Their assessment is about 2800 years too late. But we’ll get to that later
“OK Boomer” is more than a flippant retort. It has become the unofficial rallying cry of resentment of Generation Z against Boomers. The Gen Z folks see a society in crisis that they are not responsible for and are fighting back. They fear seemingly irreversible global catastrophe that looms on the horizon. Somebody is to blame! It’s the Boomers!
The Generation Z folks are “woke.” The Boomers and others with a similar mindset, are “un-woke.”
A fast rundown on the generations since world war II: Generation Z late 1990s – 2010s, Millennials 1980 – late 1990s, Generation X 1965-1979, and Boomer 1946 – 1965.
But disrespect for earlier generations is nothing new. It is almost a time-honored practice going back thousands of years. As a matter of fact, Boomers felt the same way about those that preceded them. They rebelled against their parents. And what exactly had their parents done? Their parents survived the depression and won World War II. Had the greatest generation lost the war, we might all be speaking German or Japanese.
But also Boomers rebelled against the “Establishment” and the “Military Industrial Complex.” They gave birth to the Civil Rights Movement and helped end the Vietnam War.
Existential fear for the survival of planet Earth is nothing new. Boomers lived in fear of nuclear destruction and the end of the world. They built in-home bomb shelters and had frequent public-school bomb drills.
But not all of the Boomers’ “achievements” were considered stellar at the time. They issued in rock ‘n’ roll, disco music, Woodstock, flower children, hippies, the drug culture, and many now almost forgotten singing groups like the Beatles and the Doors.
Young people often see things with a keener eye. There’s lots of unfinished business that cannot be papered over or ignored. But utter disrespect and disdain for elders brings matters to a whole new level.
REFLECT & PRAY
Respect shows esteem, deference, or appreciation for others to whom it is due. Respect is freely granted by the Father’s children. It does not have to be earned.
Father thank You that You have provided guidelines regarding respect for those who have preceded us. Encourage us to follow the Scriptures and not the culture.
The Scriptures set a standard for the Father’s children to honor and respect their elders. But as I mentioned earlier, disrespect for authority can have disastrous consequences.
It’s about 850 BC. Elijah the prophet had an encounter of the third kind. He had been miraculously taken to heaven in a whirlwind. Elisha his protégé, had taken his place as one of the Father’s prophets. He was now prophet in charge .
Elisha was on his way to Bethel. Apparently, there was a group of young ruffians out looking for trouble. Perhaps much like a modern street gang. They were probably armed with knives and swords. Perhaps for fun it was their practice to pick on people, possibly mug them or worse.
Regrettably for them, on this day, they singled out the wrong man. Thinking of course there was not much he could do about it; they began to sneeringly mock him. They made fun of his baldness.
2 Kings 2:23-24
23 Elisha left Jericho and went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, a group of youths from the town began mocking and making fun of him. “Go away, baldy!” they chanted. “Go away, baldy!”
24 Elisha turned around and looked at them, and he cursed them in the name of the LORD. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of them.
To modern ears, the punishment does not seem to fit the crime. Mocking elders is never a good idea. But mocking elders that are the Father’s servants and have the power to bless and curse is a far worse idea. Disrespecting the Father’s prophets, shows disrespect for the Father Himself.
The gang had crossed a line. They had dissed the wrong guy. Elisha pronounced a curse upon them in the name of the Lord. Two bears appeared and 42 of them were mauled, but not killed. Their scars would be a constant reminder of their insolence and contempt for the living God and His servant.
It is doubtful, Elisha was taunted or ridiculed again.
2 Chronicles 36:16 But the people mocked these messengers of God and despised their words. They scoffed at the prophets until the LORD’s anger could no longer be restrained and nothing could be done.