Job 32:6 And Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said, I am young, and ye are very old; wherefore I was afraid, and durst not shew you mine opinion.
7) I said, Days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom.
8) But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.
9) Great men are not always wise: neither do the aged understand judgment.
I’ve been on both sides of the question here. As King David says, “I have been young, and now am old;” Psalms 37:25. And I can attest to the fact that sometimes in youth I had a bit of wisdom, and now in old age I have too much folly.
I won’t even address the idea of ‘great men (or women) being wise and understanding judgment’. Most of us struggle and find we can also agree with some of the ‘great’ authors in history such as Charles Dickens:
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”
And that is the Tale of Two People that lies within each of us. Some moments I can be patting myself on the back because of some incredible accomplishment, only to discover on the other side of the scale an unbelievable faux pas.
And so it goes around. A great writer, Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn, a Russian by birth, suffered under the Soviet regime, was expelled from Russia, and eventually returned. One of the passages he wrote reads:
“(T)he line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either – but right through every human heart – and through all human hearts. This line shifts. Inside us, it oscillates with the years…. If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being.”
As the old Indian is supposed to have told his grandson, There is a battle of two wolves inside us. One is evil. It is anger, jealousy, greed, resentment, lies, inferiority, and ego. The other is good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy, and truth. The one that wins? The one you feed. (Cherokee Proverb)
And so it is. We do hear of those in our society who are evil, working wicked and heinous deeds such as Jeffrey Epstein and his associates. These roots, conspiracy or otherwise, appear to run deep throughout our world.
When we devalue one part of our society we devalue all of it. This is only part of why abortion is such a hot topic. When preborn children are devalued the value of born children is lessened.
When the value of children is diminished the value of all people diminishes. All people, not just a nebulous ‘young and old’, lose their value, but put your own name in there. You and I are devalued in the phrase all people. At one time children were a necessity because who would be our future?
As the ancients understood, well-raised children were what gave a man and his family standing in the community: “Proverbs 31:23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land”.
As scriptures admonish us we must guard our hearts, lives, and actions. Viktor Frankl, a celebrated Austrian psychiatrist, and Holocaust survivor is reported as saying/writing “There are two races of human beings, the decent and the indecent.”
So, there is that—And Jesus Said:
Matthew 12:33 Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.
34 O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.
35 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.