Following the heated and divisive election of 2016, the “us” versus “them” dialogue continued in a new form as the media bombarded us with stories about upset millennials throwing temper tantrums in the streets. As images of these crying, yelling, and destructive youth, flashed before the eyes of America, everyone became sociological experts as they began diagnosing what’s wrong with “kids these days.”
The commentary was copious. “The problem is they haven’t had to work for anything.” “The problem is they have never learned to lose, as schools give trophies to everyone.” “The problem is they are too soft because we live in an age of political correctness.” “The problem is technology.” “The problem is entitlement.” “The problem is...” Yet as diverse as these answers were, there was one clear connection, the finger of blame was always pointed outward. I was left wondering. Is the problem as simple as the commentary suggests? Are these assessments even true? Have we forgotten that younger generations are the product of older generations?
Lest I run the risk of pointing the very same finger, we must put the problem into perspective, remember the only sure solution, and seriously contemplate how generations can come together as the multi-generational church God has intended us to be.
The Problem in Perspective
Don’t get me wrong, there are many problems facing the youth of today. The breakdown of the family unit, the spread of post-modernism and moral relativism, economic uncertainty, the pandemic of drug and alcohol abuse, sexual degradation, and Biblical illiteracy (to name a few), have all had palpable influences on youth today.
The problems are numerous and complex. However, at the root, these problems are nothing new. They have plagued every generation since the fall of man. The problem is sin. Paul reminds us, “Just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned” (Rm. 5:12).
Is it wise for any generation to point the finger of blame and judgment on another? Is it helpful to diagnose the problems of a generation without drawing clear connections to the sins of generations past? The beauty for all generations is that God has designed a solution to every problem, for all time.
The Sure Solution
Instead of gripping over the specific problems facing any generation, we would be wise to consider John’s exhortation, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (Jn. 1:29). The Gospel hasn’t changed, and Jesus alone is the sure solution to every problem, past, present, and future.
When we remember that all of us were dead in trespasses and sin, children of wrath, and awaiting the judgment of God, we will humbly rejoice in the Good News that He has made a way for all of us to be alive in Christ Jesus! Our generation brought nothing to the table; our Father in Heaven brought everything in Jesus. The ground is truly level at the foot of the cross.
The reality is that the clear majority of millennials were not throwing temper tantrums on the streets after the election. Despite the media’s attempt to show the millennial generation as lazy, entitled, whiners, most of the students I have had the privilege of working with are hard-working, Jesus-loving, passionate, servants. We cannot forget that God uses people of every generation to advance His Kingdom.
Let us be careful as we speak of other generations, lest we create a generational divide that is out of place among believers. The church has a responsibility to protect itself from all media-perpetuated division caused from a hostile election season.
Younger generations need to take ownership over the problems they are facing and humbly look to the example, wisdom, and counsel of older generations who have applied the Gospel in similar situations. Older generations need to reach out to younger generations with calmness, faithfulness, understanding, and patience as they seek to help them grow to maturity in Jesus Christ.
Instead of complaining about the generational problems and exacerbating a generational divide, let us all heed the counsel of David and commend Jesus to one another as we seek to make manifest His Kingdom on Earth. “One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts” (Ps. 145:4). Lord willing this will help us think twice before saying, “kids these days…”
31 Proverbs: Grace Day for Sunday 16 September
If you’ve been reading along in this little series, you’ve now read 29 of 31 chapters of Proverbs—well done friend! Today is a “Grace Day.”
Day Thirty: Vistas of Wisdom
I am very near the end of this little writing experiment called “31 Proverbs.” While I’m unsure how helpful it has been to how ever many have read it, I know that the process of sitting down six days each week to read, ponder, and then ponder some more by plunking on a keyboard has helped me grow in my understanding of wisdom.
This past Sunday we continued on our journey through the weighty, dark, somber, and serious writings of the Prophets of the Exile, focusing our study on Jeremiah’s epilogue to his large book, an extended treatment of his grief over Jerusalem and Judah, the five poems of Lamentations.
Day Thirty-One: A Mother’s Wisdom
Even Kings need to listen to their mothers, and Solomon is no exception. It is probable that Lemuel, meaning for God or devoted to God, is merely another moniker for Solomon. It may even be that it was a nickname of sorts, one of endearment that his mother used to call him in his younger, growing up years, and it stuck. And now as Solomon completes his book of Proverbs, his mother comes to mind. He looks back with Holy Spirit-inspired memory to recall worthy words of wisdom his mother had taught him, and were invaluable in the pursuit of a wise and good life. In particular, how to be a wise and good leader.
Day Fifteen: I Always Feel Like Somebody’s Watching Me
I always feel like somebody's watching me. And I have no privacy. Woh, I always feel like somebody's watching me. Tell me is it just a dream? So sang Rockwell in the dawning of my high school years back in 1984. All the cool kids were singing it at the time, and its the tune that sprang to mind when I read this similar sentiment this morning: Yahweh is watching everywhere, keeping his eye on both the evil and the good. (Proverbs 15:3, New Living Translation)
Day Twenty-Three: When You Feel Like Quitting, Remember Why You Started
Committing to any endeavor that takes time always carries with it the challenge of making it to the end. Refinishing that dresser. Repainting the downstairs. Reading all of War and Peace (or finishing any long-ish book for that matter). Completing the class you decided to take at the community college. Running a marathon. Taking up a new hobby. Learning a new sport. Trying to introduce a new habit into your life and routine. You often hit this pain-point, where you consider giving up. At such times, it can help to remind yourself why you started in the first place.