We seem to be locked in a generational battle. We are so different, it’s hard not to wonder which generation has it right? I was talking with one of my sons last night and we were discussing the different experiences of our generations. We differ so much in our perspectives that it’s hard for the conversation to go anywhere. It wasn’t long until we reached a bit of an impasse.
There are limitations to what I will understand because their experience isn’t my experience. I’ll never understand being afraid of school shootings. And he’ll never understand hiding under the desk for bomb drills. Though we grew up in the same country, we grew up in different times with different pressures and in some ways, very different cultures. No matter what we do, at some point the conversation reaches an impasse.
While trying to understand our differences, I think we often forget what we have in common. Forgetting these things that we share, sets us on paths that end up separating us rather than uniting us. So, let’s remember…
SPIRITUAL NATURE OF STRUGGLE.
First, when trying to understand each other, we don’t take into account the spiritual nature of the struggle. We frame our disagreements as sociological trends, cultural pressures, or even personal angst, rather than remembering that these can be used as part of a deceitful scheme to unravel God’s witness in the world. Satan is real and his desire is to use the leanings of culture to keep us apart. Each generation faces its own temptation and no one is less dangerous than the other. We must continually remember the words of Jesus about Satan that “He is a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44)
NO ONE IS BETTER.
Second, we forget that we are all rebellious people that need to be redeemed and forgiven. No one generation holds a greater righteousness than the other. It might be good if before looking at the other, we took these words to heart: “Take your evil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing wrong, learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.” (Isaiah 1:16-17) We’ve all failed and grace is what we need. Grace is what we need to give one another.
WE HAVE SOMETHING TO DO TOGETHER
Third, we forget that the purpose of our life together on this planet is to know God, serve God and glorify God. Our destiny isn’t going it alone. Our purpose isn’t to figure it out ourselves . Our glory isn’t in feeling good. Being well-adjusted in a sinful world might only help us adapt to the sin and brokenness around us. Whatever generation we are part of, our call is to “act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)
This is more than a “can we all just get along” platitude. It is hard work. But it is vital work the church must do if we are going to walk together and bring joy to the God who loves us.
STEPS TOWARD ONENESS
Which generation has it right? We share in our struggles, but we all bring something good to the table. The church would be lost without any of our generations. So, how do we build one another up and strengthen our unity across generations?
Listen, pray for, and care for one another.
Remember the truth about our own generation and confess our part in it.
Focus outside ourselves and realize there is a world out there that needs us to live out God’s life together – across the generations.