The Bible’s Principle of Children Caring for their Parents

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Grant

Puritan Board Senior
So 1 Timothy 5 list some guidelines for church leadership regarding occasions for rebuke (v.1-2) and then a large section on widows (v.3-16). It dawned on me today the implied principle there that Elders should really know about their member’s marriage behavior, parental behavior, and work behavior all beyond the Lord's Day morning "how do you do?". This weighed heavy on me as this is a heavy responsibility. In other words, Paul doesn't say this expressly, but how in the world would elders know who makes the approved widow list without knowing about the above listed areas of their life in a more intimate way?

We too, as children & grandchildren, have such a strong scriptural obligation (even primary) to take care of our own parents and grandparents. The principle and the topic I’m really getting at pops up everywhere in the Bible. I have also seen this principle expressed by commentators. There is a link/cycle between our parents pouring themselves into our godly care/rearing in our younger years and we (children & grandchildren) giving that back as best we can as they age becoming less independent.


This raises thoughts for me on navigating the topic of nursing homes. No doubt, medically, some need medical grade care, but how often do we send elderly away so we don't have to sacrifice our time and convenience? In America, it seems we try to sub-contract many of the family principles out of selfishness instead of true necessity (ex. Childcare). Like modesty, there is a principle given in Scripture without specific rules for EVERY scenario, which is the wisdom of the Bible. We are obligated to learn those principles and seek to apply them in our lives, with the help of Pastors/Elders. My family spent some time this morning discussing how we fail and can improve upon taking care of our grandparents (our parents are all still full time working in their 50s).


I thought this might bring up a very interesting topic for some PB discussion. Looking forward to your reflections. So what are your thoughts on nursing homes and children & grandchildren obligation to care for parents/grandparents?:detective:


P.S. Be thinking about the elderly in your family. I think this COVID-19 scenario is having a very negative impact on them mentally and spiritually. My grandmother, finally fed up, ventured to our house to visit us and our girls. She had been even more depressed than normal and it was a big blessing to her to finally get out and visit in spite of all the fear mongering.
 

Jeri Tanner

Moderator
Staff member
Thanks G. These are really important things. My parents are now both gone and I so regret that we didn’t keep them closer, and sacrifice to do so, in their old age and burdensome frailty. We Christians so often talk about sanctification but we don’t realize this is how the Lord does it. I think you’re onto a good line of thinking.
 

Grant

Puritan Board Senior
Really for me it all falls under the Theology of Family in scripture and the Lord’s Beautiful Cycle of young to old ( in a fallen world mind you). Sadly, our fallen nature tries to force our perceived ”burden of children” and the “burden of the elderly” when I think these are things God has designed as blessings to serve as a means of grace and sanctification in the life of the Family.
 
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NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
While it is true many need round the clock medical care and many simply have no choice, keep your parents out of nursing homes if you can. In my humble opinion. I don't think my family ever openly discussed it with my mother; maybe she expressed an opinion to not be put in one but I don't remember and causally a comment or two over the years by siblings against it maybe, but it was just assumed, why of course we would not do that with mother. My dad was fortunate, if that is the right word even, that his cancer only put him in the hospital a couple of days before he died. At 80 he'd been on the roof doing work just a few months earlier even with the diagnoses and effects of it. That's kind of the way to go. But I can't really tell the cost when you are a caregiver for many years when it involves degenerating diseases such as Alzheimer's. I know many would avoid that, but as hard as it was, a stroke took my mother before we had to contemplate any long term care in a facility. She lived in her home she'd built with my dad all her life except for those 3 days in hospital and spent two at home under hospice care. All her children flew in who were not already in town and we gathered and sang around her bed. She was in a coma but you never know what she may have sensed.
 
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