29 Jun Building a Wall or a Bridge?
The interlude, which is inserted between musical compositions, dramas, and events becomes exceedingly prominent when it comes to existing between the various periods of our lives. This interlude creates a gap between the beautiful song being sung and lived by different generations. Almost every author, from Shakespeare to Tolstoy, from Austen to Dickens, writes about young lives because they can’t avoid the truth that being young is agonizing. There is a pain concealed beneath that youthful charm, that healthy body, and well-informed mind. You’re never more alert and enthusiastic than when you’re in your teens and twenties. To all the older adults, you too were a youth once. In Ezra 3:11-13 when the foundation for the new temple was laid the young were filled with joy but the older generation was weeping. They wept for the past, for the older broken temple.
Many times, the older generation envies the fresher generation by holding on to the past. They visualize the new generation as the ones that are spoilt, the ones who have not seen poverty, the ones who have polluted not just the ecosystem but also their hearts and minds. They blame them for the gap between generations. This blame is only partially true.
Older people should understand that not every young person is rebellious or pleasure-seeking. Don’t blame the whole generation. Their temptations and hardships are vastly different from what you experienced in your youth. You say youth are not used to physical labor, minimalism, simplicity, etc. That is because they have grown up in a world so very different than yours. Don’t you think you have adopted many things from them such as modern technology which has proved to be beneficial? Hence, “Understand their circumstances before you judge them. “ There will be young people in your church, fellowships, Bible studies who will come very late and straightaway join the coffee time at the end, who will be dressed in overly stylish outfits with hairstyles making no sense, who will behave in a way that makes your blood boil. Consider the following choices – You can ignore them, you can resent them or you can choose to love them. What would you choose today? God loves you so much so that He sacrificed His son for you! Hence, Understand the circumstances of your children, students, mentees and choose to love them endlessly, without judging them and gently correcting their mistakes.
Secondly, stop blaming them. Continuing from Adam and Eve, every generation is rebellious. Stop blaming this generation. SIN is the reason for rebellion against God, not THEM. Don’t let Satan break the unity among generations. Today onwards, choose to love them and help them grow in the Lord by chastening them but without blaming them or gossiping about them.
Thirdly, do you pray more for them or complain more about them? Pray on your knees for the spiritual and emotional battles which the young students in your homes and fellowships are going through. Pray that they may value modesty and choose purity. Pray that the friendship between the two generations may grow.
The bridge of every song makes it so very beautiful. Similarly, bridging this generation gap can make our relationship more beautiful. Mentors, teachers, professors, elders, parents, spiritual leaders; teach them from God’s word, guide them and influence them but prayerfully make them take their decisions. Listen to them rather than always speaking to them. Guide them in their careers. Send them birthday wishes and make yourselves available for them. Make your Bible studies more interesting for them. Cherish them as your own family. Open your homes for them if they’re new in your city. Provide not just a physical but also a spiritual shelter for them. Above all, forgive them. If they have done anything wrong or spoken anything wrong, Forgive them. NEVER hold a grudge against them.
Dear people of the younger generation – Understand the fact that even your parents and elders can be wrong, and you too need to forgive them. Importantly, you need to honour them. The Bible doesn’t specify any conditions for honouring, such as honour your parents if they are right, if they are educated etc. You must honour them despite anything because God commands you to. Parents, elders, teachers, and mentors aren’t perfect, they need your prayers too. And if they correct you it’s because they love you.
I know many young people who have won their own parents for Christ. How beautiful is that? If you’re busy with college, school, or work, never forget to take some time out for your parents. Help them with their household chores and take care of their health. This doesn’t take much effort but it never fails to bring smiles on their faces. Never take their hard work and sacrifices for granted. Lastly, remember that you too will be a parent, mentee, teacher, elder someday, so let us give the older generation the love which Christ gives us.
All these things are possible when we build our foundation on Christ Jesus because He remains the same yesterday, today, and forever. Don’t forget that our God is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He is the God of all ages. Psalm 71:18 (Even when I am old and grey, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come.) This verse reminds us that all generations need each other to complete the work of God.
Also, remember that there is one Holy generation that God is preparing by extracting people from different ages of human history. 1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” … You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. I pray and hope that you will take one or more decisions today to bridge such a gap if it exists around you. Let us bridge this gap together with the way God wants us to. Let us complete the song of our lives with revival being the chorus. Depending on the choices you make today and the love you give, you can either build or bridge.
Stuti Farmer is studying BSc 3rd year in Dehradun, Uttarakhand and is part of ICEU Dehradun