I’ve heard there were once cultures who honored their ancestors and appreciated the wisdom of their elders. How comical and naive! Right?
In our contemporary, advanced and superior-in-all-ways world, we have been efficiently taught to distrust history and look with contempt on all the naive and unsophisticated generations who came before us. We no longer see value in considering the ideas or morals of such lesser cultures.
Our eyes were opened beginning in the 1960’s with the rise of the slogan, “Trust nobody over thirty,” as we enthusiastically shrugged off the restricting shackles of absolute truth and donned the easy mantle of relativism. “If it feels good, do it!”
That revolution has led us to what I like to call the “oxymoronic age” when good is evil, right is wrong, and even biology is suspect. How can we honor the roles of father and mother when these very concepts are considered to be the backward constructs of our pathetically paternalistic forebears?
We consider all the generations who came before as having nothing to offer, while at the same time we have elevated the indigenous, tribal populations to god-like status. They are the embodiment of both innocence and wisdom. These original ecological heroes serve as the paradigm for our dealings with nature. Yet, these same peoples drove entire herds of bison over cliffs in order to harvest what the tribe needed, leaving most of the carcasses as carrion. Hardly an ideal ecological practice from our current perspective. This doesn’t mean they were evil. It is simply an example of using the knowledge and tools of their time.
Why can’t we respect the civilizations who didn’t have our scientific or technological advantages for using the knowledge and tools they had? Consider, without those earlier generations, none of our current “superiority” could have come about. They deserve honor and respect, not suspicion and derision.
The Bible, the cornerstone for most successful western civilizations for thousands of years, has fallen victim to contemporary attitudes toward earlier cultures, as well. Perhaps this is why people no longer fear breaking the commandments of God. Our society flouts them with aplomb:
- Thou shalt not kill? We slaughter full-term babies by the thousands in government supported abortion mills.
- Thou shalt love the Lord your God? What god? We don’t want to hear about it.
- Honor your father and mother, so your days may be long upon the earth? Are you kidding? Biological parents are just accidents of birth.
Those of us who still believe can see where this is leading and we cling to this promise:
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.(2 Chronicles 7:14 KJV)
I embrace learning from older women God will put in my life. I serve in Sunday school 3rd grade with a 70 year old woman. I love being her assistant. She is such an amazing woman of God. I learn so much from her just from watching and hearing her teach the student. We should cherish the generations before us. Thanks for sharing.
LikeLiked by 1 person
When we work side by side with other generations, both sides benefit and our lives are enriched.
LikeLiked by 1 person
That verse has been on many of our minds lately. And yet I wonder if the Lord is bringing these times on his church to purify. We, his people, are called to turn from our wicked ways. It’s not about the world turning. We bear his name, we are purchased by him, we are his people, the world is not. He will present to himself a glorious church without spot or wrinkle or blemish. We will look like him. It will be done. Whatever it takes. But what does “the land” mean? In Israel’s day it had a double meaning. It was where God dwelt among, and ruled over his people, and it was a physical piece of property. Does God stake out a physical place in our day? Or do we, like Jesus said to the woman at the well, worship him in spirit and in truth apart from any particular mountain? If that’s true, then we’re praying for God to strengthen his rule over and relationship with us. So persevere and pray and leave off sin, so that he will heal the property of our hearts. And as our welfare is tied to the welfare of the place we dwell in, he may have mercy on others as well.
LikeLiked by 1 person
I often think back to history to learn from what they got wrong – which they, did a lot. Past generations are as human as we are, prone to the same error and selfishness. We can’t put them on a pedestal and say: “Look to that last, great generation! How useless the youth are in comparison to them!” Each generation has it’s own challenges to deal with and it’s own solutions that wouldn’t work for other generations. Here’s one thing my great, great grandmother learned: “You cannot legislate morality.” You can tell kids all you want not to do something, and they’ll do it anyway – after all, she was the exact same way. We are, in many ways, in a different world. She was born into a world where she didn’t have the right to vote (and so much more.) We exist in a world where there are increasing rights for everyone who didn’t have those rights a decade or even a century ago. I’d like to think that she would be honored by our nation moving forward, learning from the mistakes of the past, and not making the same mistakes they did all over again.
Good points, Jamie. Thanks for commenting.