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Temptations of Age
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Photo: Studiomill
“When I hit 72, ”my friend confessed, “I thought I had finally gone beyond the age of temptation. I mean, one look in the mirror—no fellow is going to make a play for that!”

“Okay…” I wondered where we were going with this. I remembered a man telling everyone that he had only one sin left to conquer and then he would be perfect and ready for heaven. Besides, temptation comes in many forms. What might tempt me won’t tempt you.

“Actually, someone did make a pass,” she chuckled. “I could almost hear God laughing at me. But He also showed me that age has its own special temptations—like talking too much!”

“That’s mine,” I admitted. No one really wants to hear my life story or all the details of the day.

I began thinking of other temptations—such as a belief that age deserves privilege. I’ve seen it. A strange belief that the rules, even of the road, are meant only for the young and inexperienced. SCARY!

Temptations to believe that because you are older or hurting, it is okay to be rude or angry—to believe that you should be first and entitled to exemptions or privileges.

Temptation to believe that things matter more than people.

Years ago, we had a young family on our street with three lovely children. They’d never seen their grandparents on their mother’s side. The big excitement for weeks was the planned drive to California to see Grandma and Grandpa.

Grandparents

Though the grandparents had made little effort to acknowledge their daughter’s children, she could not imagine her parents rejecting them.

“How was the trip?” I asked when they returned.

Tears brimmed her eyes. “It was terrible. My parents covered every piece of furniture and spent the whole time worrying that someone might leave a scratch or smudge of dirt. They cared more about their stuff. They wouldn’t go to activities with us and refused to kiss the kids goodbye when we left.”

Temptations to pride, arrogance, gluttony, self-centeredness and, yes, even vanity. The young man who believed he had only one more sin to conquer before he arrived at perfection had failed to recognize reality.

The reality is, that though we are told to be perfect, even as God is perfect, our “perfection” comes in receiving Christ’s perfection.

Every temptation we humans encounter requires a decision (just as in the Garden of Eden) of “no” or “go.” Rarely is there more than a split second to make the choice—anger/calm; self/other; ignore the rule/follow it.

If we come to our senior years with good habits of self-restraint, self-care and respect, and a strong consideration and appreciation of others and of the laws of God and orderly society, I believe those “temptations” my friend was talking about will be dealt with appropriately.

There is a saying: “Temptations are like birds. You can’t stop them from flying over your head, but you can stop them from nesting in your hair.”

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By Lois Pecce. Copyright © 2014 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines


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