Embracing Aging

Some of the most beautiful poetry ever written is in the Bible. I came across this at work today from Job 9: our days “are passed away as the swift ships.” Beautiful language. It would be well worth it to take a long time to read through particularly eloquent passages of the Bible. I think we undervalue such passages sometimes.

But that’s a series for another week. This week, I want to talk about how Christians should react to the celebrity culture all around us. Today I’m looking at how we respond to aging, which in the present day is a form of premature death. There’s almost nothing worse than aging to the average person, whose standard of beauty is an airbrushed, plastic-surgeried 22-year-old model. Our distaste for the body’s natural process transcends mere embarassment and crosses over into shame. Yes, that’s right. It’s not too strong. Many of us are actually ashamed to age. Fittingly, of course, we’re too ashamed to admit it.

But it’s true. Think about yourself. How much do you worry about aging? If you’re a woman, how much money do you spend to fight the effects of age? How much time? How much of your life is consumed with this concern? If you’re a man, how concerned are you for your hairline? If we’re honest, and we need to be, I think most of us can say that we are altogether too concerned with aging. We are embarassed by it, we are ashamed by it, and we devote a considerable portion of our short lives worrying over it. The worst reality, though, is that we’re all scared and ashamed over something the Bible says is glorious. Isn’t that crazy to think about? The Bible speaks of gray hair as a crown. We think of it as a curse. On the area of aging, and appearance in general, we Christians need to admit our failings in this area. We need to repent of anxiety and shame over the aging process that is constantly working itself out in us. And we need together to turn away from our ungodly mindset and to collectively witness to the world that we are the people who do not fight God’s design for the body, but who, with wisdom and care, embrace it.

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One response to “Embracing Aging

  1. Telcontar

    Interesting thoughts. You’re certainly right about the obsession in pop culture with avoiding or covering the effects of aging. And Christians are all to often guilty of this as well– looking on the outside while God looks on the heart.

    You mention that “The Bible speaks of gray hair as a crown. We think of it as a curse.” This is true, but I wonder how we should reconcile the crown with the fact that the Bible also views age as a curse. Aging– the gradual failure and breakdown of our bodies– is a sad result of the Fall in Eden, and not really part of God’s original design for human life. How do these two views in God’s word fit together?

    Maybe our problem is that we don’t rely enough on God’s grace, looking instead to our own (failing) strength.

    Thanks for bringing up an interesting issue.

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