Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Thoughts about the Younger Generation

When I was in my teens and twenties I got fed up hearing the older generation say, "The problem with young people today is ...."

I'll admit, some of our choices weren't all that great. In fact, many of them went straight against God's clearly revealed will. My generation (I'm at the tail end of the Boomers) really pressed the envelope on sexual promiscuity, drugs, abortion, and many other self-destructive behaviors that are drowning our culture now.

But we did some things right too.

I told myself when I grew up I would never be like that. I wouldn't talk badly about the next generation, but I would look for the value in them, what they had to contribute.

But now I find myself harboring those same thoughts and feelings -- that same animosity toward Millennials that the older generation held toward us 20 or 30 years ago. I am appalled at their rejection of absolute truth. I especially get irritated when I hear Christians espousing relative truth, especially when the Bible shows us an eternal God who never changes, and who tells us not one dot or one tittle will pass from His Law. That Law will be the basis of Jesus' judgment on the Last Day. When God says certain things are wrong and certain things are right, they just are!

I am troubled by the way Millennials celebrated the SCOTUS decision protecting gay marriage. It's like they bend over backward to not hurt someone's feelings. That's okay, I guess, but what if that someone is doing something that goes against God's ways? When you try hard not to judge or hurt someone's feelings, aren't you empowering them to continue following those moral choices that drive them further and further from God? It breeds a false sense of security that can easily keep them from repentance, faith and obedience -- hardly sounds like love to me.

What need is there for a Savior if every lifestyle is valid? Salvation is pointless if there is no sin to be saved from?

But I'm not here to write about the Millennials; I'm writing about me. I don't like the pessimism I see inside myself. Doesn't this new generation have something to offer -- a balance our generation desperately needs?

In my day, back in high school, all the kids grouped into basic categories: jocks, musicians, nerds and druggies. If you fit into one of those groups, you had a "family" of sorts. But then there were still plenty of misfit kids who fell outside those groups. The only group in my school that accepted them was the druggies; we called them "freaks." To my shame, I must admit they were often more of a family than my group of friends, who were quick to label and condemn. While the druggies would welcome the misfits with open arms, giving them a sense of worth, of belonging -- we just sat there laughing at them.

But among the Millennials I see a strong sense of acceptance for those who are different. Sure, at times I'm convinced they go too far. As a result, the impression is given that God's fine with any lifestyle, no matter what.

But then again, how did Jesus look to the respectable people of His day? When He found people who were different or struggling in error, He didn't avoid them, categorize, or condemn them. Instead, He ate meals with them and generously gave them His time, seeking to lead them to repentance and teach them about God's timeless, changeless mercy, love and forgiveness.

He loved them.

What can I learn from Millennials? I need to pray for God to give me genuine love and concern for those who are walking on a self-destructive path. I need His wisdom to confront them -- not with self-righteous hatred and pride -- but with a genuine concern and compassion for a creature of God who urgently needs the salvation Jesus offers -- the same salvation I so desperately need.

Looks like I have a lot to learn from Millennials, after all.

In this world it's easy to categorize and write off those people who are different from us or who espouse attitudes or preferences hard for us to digest. What can we do to bridge these gaps in our society? How can we convey a sense of love and concern for others, especially when they get under our skin?

It's not easy.

Any ideas you have to make cross-generational communication easier are welcome. You can share them with us by clicking here and passing them along.

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