In ministry we have to deal with multi-generations and sometimes that is not easy. If we are dealing with a generation older or younger than ourselves, it can come with its challenges. But every generation has a need for relationships and we must remember that. A pastor’s wife friend of mine recently wrote a blog dealing with this and I would like to share it with you today.
I spend time talking with people of all ages, and lately have spent a lot of time with people often referred to as “millennials” (those born between 1976 and 1998.) Many in this generation come from families who experienced divorce. Many had the experience of growing up in one-parent homes. Many understand family as something that’s divided. Most of their parents came from the boomer generation….those who grew up in the 60’s and early 70’s….when the “sexual revolution” hit. Many understand friendships as what they’ve experienced on television or in movies. Many see everything as “disposable.” Most have no idea how to establish and maintain deep relationships because of their experience with divorce and family relationships, either in life or on television.
Listening to these friends, I’ve come to a few conclusions, and not just about the “millennials” but many generations of people.
- Most people are seeking something deeper, whether in their relationships or careers, and experience deep dissatisfaction.
- Most people think religion is fake and haven’t seen faith in action.
- Most people think God and His ways may work for others, but not for them. Too many restrictions and not enough benefits.
- Most people think it’s sex that makes the love great.
If I could change someone’s thinking, I would want to introduce them to the real God of the Universe, the Creator of their soul, instead of the condensed, reshaped and diluted version this world offers.
God wants marriage between one man and one woman, dedicated first to Him and then to each other. God wants marriage to be a reflection of Christ’s love for His church, a sacrificial love, full of passion and love. God never intended for children to grow up in divided homes. He never intended for children to hear the arguments of their parents or witness the brutality that can accompany them at times. He never intended for children to witness their parents with many partners, relationships as disposable as the fast food wrappers they clean up for “dinner.” He wants man to love and protect his wife, to show her love, joy, peace, security, passion and faithfulness. He wants the wife to respect, honor and love her husband with great joy and both to delight in the gift of marriage that He’s given them.
I would introduce them to Jesus, the lover of their soul who wants more for them than the temporary things of this world. Jesus, God with skin on, shows us how to live life in this world and even warns us that “in this world you will have trouble.” But He has overcome the world, and when we live our lives according to His example, it makes this life easier to cope with, especially knowing there’s more to life than just this world. Following Jesus and His example doesn’t mean I will have it easy, it means that I have Someone who will walk it with me and guide me. Living like Jesus means I am tender in my relationships, that loving people is more important to me than anything else. Following His ways means I am honest in my dealings, that I exhibit integrity in my work and relationships. Understanding Jesus and His ways means that I don’t just walk away when difficulties come, but I seek resolution and understanding and sometimes grace. Loving like Jesus means I learn to extend grace to others, and forgive when it would be easier to grow bitter.
I would show them how understanding and following Jesus actually brings freedom and not restrictions, because His commands are for my protection. For example, the concept of marriage being between one man and one woman protects the man and the woman from disease, protects them from guilt, protects them from brokenness, protects the family and generations. When children grow up in this kind of home, they reproduce this kind of home for their children. The scripture that states “the marriage bed must remain pure” means that no outside influence should be brought into a couple’s most intimate place. It confirms that it’s not sex that makes the love great. God’s promise is He will honor us when we honor Him. When we honor Him and our marriage bed, He blesses us. It’s love that makes the sex great. Sex is a gift from God, meant to be shared between a husband and wife for our protection, for our blessing, procreation, and as the ultimate act of love between us. God uses marriage to protect us from the disaster that comes to us emotionally and physically when we allow sex to become casual and outside of marriage.
Lastly, I would explain to them my Heavenly Father, the One who promises eternal life. There is more to life than what we live day to day, but this culture is convincing us that we must live for today and enjoy all we can of this world. There is a place called Heaven, and one called Hell. There is an eternity, and how we choose to live today determines where we will spend eternity, either in Heaven or in Hell. Jesus spoke very clearly of both and scripture states plainly that He wants no one to perish, but all to come to repentance (turn away from sin) and live eternally with Him.
I have not always gotten it right. I am far from a perfect person. I have a past. I have been broken. But God’s grace has guided me, shaped me and changed me. And now He encourages me to reach out to others who don’t always get it right, who are far from being perfect, who have a past. Who have been broken by this world. There is a remedy. There is a way that is best.
Let me introduce you.
So no matter what generation(s) you are dealing with, they all need Jesus and I dare say they are all seeking something deeper.