“Young people these days!”
“In my day things were different!”
“I remember when the whole town used to go to church!”
You have heard it the same as I have. Children and teens today, if we are to believe the report, are the worst generation on earth since the time that a full 50% of one generation were murderers (Cain and Able).
But consider this quote by a pastor concerning his Sunday School and consider the time in which it was made:
Older students are not retained; the instruction is usually too general and therefore too shallow; the way of salvation, and the need of the new birth, are not sufficiently dwelt upon; that the children are not encouraged to memorise verses…
He basically is saying that the older children drift away from church because of shallow teaching in Sunday School and because they are not memorising Scripture.
Sound familiar? Of course it does. Now perhaps those who make such comments as I noted at the beginning come from a particular generation, in a particular region of the country where on the whole young people were more respectful, when more people went to church and when things were different. However, I suspect that things were not so in their grandparents generation nor in their grandchildren’s.
I think there is a danger in judging the whole of human history and culture through a narrow lense of our personal experience.
The quote I shared was from the good old days, 1878 to be exact, when the sun never set on a British missionary, when Spurgeon and many other giants of the faith left their imprint on humanity for generations.
Maybe things were not as golden as we sometimes remember, maybe they were. But I believe things go in cycles, just as they did in the book of Judges with Israel. Our grandparents it seems knew a golden age, but since then things have been on the decline. However, could things be turning around? Are some modern day judges being pushed to the front to be used of the Lord to invigorate a fresh generation to serve the Lord?
I believe there is a danger in seeing the problem as being with a generation and their toys. Society is not sick because of cell phones and iPods. One generation is no more wicked than another or any more righteous than another.
People sin because they are sinners. Our enviroment and influences may facilitate or inhibit our behaviour, but the problem is with the heart.
We have to move our eyes from seeing the symptoms and blaming anything except the true cause, we are all born sinners.
As long as we focus on hitting the symptoms then we will not make real, lasting progress. We must aim for the cause and only then will we see God do great things in ours and every generation!