More on Bridging the Generation Gap

talk-to-old-people

The term “generation gap” refers to differences between generations that cause conflict and complicate communication, creating a “gap.” Sometimes the differences between generations become major differences, differences that pull us away from each other, differences that cause us to be distrustful of each other. The generation gap even exists in the church. But is this something new? Ecclesiastes 1:9-11 says: “History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new. Sometimes people say, ‘Here is something new!’ But actually it is old; nothing is ever truly new. We don’t remember what happened in the past, and in future generations, no one will remember what we are doing now.” So, the answer to the question is, no, the generation gap is nothing new. It has existed for as long as man has existed.

So, here’s another question. What does God think about generations? Does age matter to God? Does God consider one generation better than another? Scripture makes it clear that the answer to that question is “no.” God looks at young and old through the same eyes. He looks at each generation as being the same as any other. He places equal importance on each generation. In Joel 2:28 (NLT), which was echoed in the book of Acts, God said, “Then, after doing all those things, I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams, and your young men will see visions.” God didn’t say I will pour out my Spirit on Baby Boomers. He didn’t say that only Millennials will dream dreams and see visions.

1 Peter 2:9 says, “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.” God doesn’t see us as the Silent Generation. He doesn’t see us as Baby Boomers, as Gen Xers, or as Millennials. God sees us as one chosen generation.

In his letter to the Philippians, chapter 2, verses 1 to 7, Paul tells us that, as members of the body of Christ, we are called to be humble, to encourage and comfort one another, to be in fellowship with one another, relating to each other with hearts that are tender and compassionate. We are called to be in agreement with each other, to love one another, and to work together in unity, with one mind and one purpose. We must not think of ourselves, or of our generations, as being better than others. And we need to take an interest in the interests of other people, of other generations.

So, as the church, how do we bridge the generation gap? First, we can recognize that each generation has differences. These differences are influenced by the times and by the culture in which we grow up. They also reflect our own personal preferences. Next, we need to accept those differences. In fact, we should even celebrate them as they make us each who we are. And finally, we need to remind ourselves that, although our age and cultural differences may not change, there is one important thing that we have in common, the thing that we need to hold onto in order to bridge the gap—our love of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We must share that love with each other and share what God has done in our lives, in our generations. Our greatest tool in building the bridge across the generation gap is communication!

Psalm 145:4 says that one generation should declare and praise God’s works to the next generation. Each generation should pass on its knowledge of God and all He has done in their lives to the next. I love the way this verse is translated in the NASB: “One generation shall praise Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts.” I see this as each generation sharing with other generations all that God has done. Baby Boomers can tell Millennials what God has done in their lives. Millennials can tell the Silent Generation what God has done in their lives. We can all learn from and be encouraged by each other, regardless of generations.

Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked NASB are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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