The Sins of Old Age

Senior Moments 9/29/18

In 2 Tim 2:22, the apostle Paul exhorts Timothy to “flee from youthful lusts.” There seem to be sins that are particularly attracted to certain periods of life. Old age is not exempt. There are temptations that particularly hound those who are advanced in years.

Considering that sanctification is a process which does not slow down along with the physical reflexes of age, seniors should be aware of sins that are particularly drawn to their age group.

Here are twelve, among others.

1. Pride-Pride has a way of getting into the hearts and minds of the aged simply because their longevity has given them longer opportunity to accumulate experience, accomplishments, successes, and even material resources. This gives them a great edge over the young; but it also gives them a disadvantage when it comes to fueling pride. Seniors should not brag about what in reality the Lord has given them by His grace. Their accumulated wisdom should make them humble instead of proud (Jas 4:6).

2. Arrogance-Along with pride is arrogance. Arrogance may come with knowledge (1 Cor 8:1). It may come with age coupled with personality. Old people might want to have their way simply because they are old and feel they are entitled to be heard. When the young teach them new things, like high-technology for example, which can help them in some ways,  they resist and insist on their old-fashioned traditions which may have become passe for an age like ours. Old age should not make us stop learning even when the instruction comes from those who are younger. Seniority does not equal perfection.

3. Gossip-Having more time on their hands, especially the ladies (although men are not exempt), there is the temptation of using that spare time to be a busybody, to go from house to house, not evangelizing, but either talking about or listening to gossip about others. This is nothing but idleness and a waste of precious time, not to mention, an occasion for slandering others. Why not gossip about the Bible and about Christ and about the gospel to others? Seniors should find a better use of their time than engaging in vain talk.

4. Hedonism-I heard a retired couple once say, “Service is for the young; ours is to take it easy and relax.” Although it is true that age exacts its toll on our bodies and there is a slowing down on service as the years advance, seniors must beware of spending the rest of their days mainly and merely on pleasure. Difficult times will come Paul says in 2 Tim 3:1,4 when people who profess to believe will become lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. To enjoy God’s blessings is one thing; to become a hedonist is another.

5. Vanity-No one can become forever young. Although this is not a wholesale condemnation of cosmetics or of plastic surgery that may delay or hide aging, seniors, especially the newly-initiated, must come to grips with the fact that their age will ultimately show and there is no way that they can pretend that they are still the person they were ten years ago. They should take a memory test for a reality check.

6. Carnal Anxiety-Carnal anxiety reflects a lack of trust in God. There are many things in the senior years that may make the old anxious like what happens if they contract a debilitating disease, who will care for them when they are helpless and bedridden, where will they get money to buy medicines or pay the hospital, what happens when they die or when their spouses die? We just have to lay our concerns before God and trust Him for all things. He is in control. Has he not said He will not leave us or forsake us (Heb 13:5)?

7. Carelessness-Old people may be careless with their things and forget where they put their keys or their cellphones or even their dentures, but they should never be careless with their demeanor especially in front of the young–the way that they speak, the way that they dress, the way that they respond to offenses, the way that they trust in God, their over-all conduct. They must remember that the young look up to them for an example. If a senior, are you one? Or are you a stumbling block?

8. Grumpiness-Why have I heard so many remarks that seniors are prone to grumpiness? Is it because of the incessant aches and pains that they feel in their aging bodies or is it because of the unwanted side-effects of maintenance medication? Whatever the reason, there is no excuse for irritability and grouchiness, they must still be in control of their feelings and emotions. Self-control is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:23). What a delight is it to see and interact with a pleasantly-faced senior and not one who is masungit.

9. Depression-We cannot avoid the dark clouds of unpleasant providence in our lives. This may lead to depression and despair. Especially with seniors, when their children leave home and establish their own families, when the bond of a steady marriage is broken by the death of a spouse, these and similar unsettling circumstances may result to an emotional downward spiral. Again, the only antidote is to submit to God’s providence and to trust Him for all, remembering that He is sovereign and in control and does all things for the good of His people (Rom 8:28).

10. Doubt-The devil is not only active with the young, there is no let-up in his schemes. Seniors must beware of this; the devil takes no pity on them just because they are old. One of his wily strategies is to seek to extinguish the hopes of seniors which are founded on the truth of God’s promises. The devil sows doubt about the goodness of God, the promise of heaven and of eternal life, the promise of grace to live and grace to die well. His is to shake the faith of believers in the truthfulness of God’s word. No wonder, he is called the father of lies (Jn 8:44). Don’t believe him; believe in Jesus, the way, the truth and the life (Jn 14:6).

11. Lust-And we all thought that this was a weakness of the young. But have we not heard of the label, “dirty old man” and in our day of feminism, the label, “cougar” for “dirty old women?” Even if sexual capacities decline as a result of age, the sin of lust is as strong as in youth and vigilance should be exercised to resist it. Seniors must not let their guard down with respect to the temptation of immorality.

12. Interference-Grandparents have an advantage of enjoying their grandchildren without having to be directly responsible for them. But they must take care. I heard someone say that the duty of parents is to discipline their children but the privilege of grandparents is to spoil them. We must resist meddling with the family affairs of our children (and their children) unless necessary. Seniors must not be pakialamero or konsentidor.

This message was given at Senior Moments (9/29/18).

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