Every day, social media is flooded with stories of suicide, bullying, teenage pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, sexual assault, and addiction. Much of it surrounds the next generation. The youth of our nation. It is everywhere. It’s like an epidemic of disease that cannot seem to be stopped, growing worse each day.
And I seem to keep encountering the same questions being asked over and over again, “Oh where have they gone wrong? How have the “millennials” gotten it so wrong? How did they get so far off track!!!??”
They seem like a legitimate enough questions. In theory. It is always easy to look at those making these horrific mistakes and think that it’s just something that happened to them. They just chose it. And yes. It IS a choice. One they indeed made. However, they are the NEXT generation, meaning the generations that came after us and those who came before us. They didn’t just one day wake up and think up these choices on their own. No. They were already being presented to them AS choices that they could make. So the question I feel more than ever that we should be asking is this, “Oh where have WE gone wrong?”
I get it. You are already shaking your head and calling me a liberal. After all, only a “liberal” would not hold the “millennials” responsible for their own choices and actions. Only a “liberal” would try to make it about someone else. Right? Well, that depends on what version of truth you live your life by I guess.
Please don’t give up on me and please hear me out. What I am about to share with you, has been reflected upon for the last 24 hours. It has been sought after. It has been digging at my heart and it has not given me easy answers. The answers however, are so vitally important if we want to truly know where this next generation got it all wrong.
A generation will follow it’s loudest leaders. They will cling to those who mentor them willingly, who will listen to them when they need an ear and who will give them advice that attempts to fill the voids they so desperately want to fill. They will almost always follow those who have come before them, hoping to glean wisdom and truth from them. Listening to them intently, waiting for all the answers. Which brings me to the most important question I want you to keep you at the forefront of your mind as we continue, “Whose voice has been the loudest? The voice of truth and light or the voice of the world?”
Let me help you better understand what I am about to share with you. In order to do that, I want you to take a moment to take in the following image:
This was taken yesterday morning as my family and I were touring the library downtown. I was immediately taken aback by the image and the words on the cover. I almost wanted to take it and throw it in the trash but had to remind myself that this was not my property to dispose of. My heart just sank as I really took in the image and what this was speaking. But more than that, it broke my heart to see who it was speaking TO.
TeenVogue. A magazine that’s target audience is preteens and teens. Our “millennials”. Our children. Our grandchildren. Our nieces. Our nephews. Our brothers. Our sisters. Our next generation of leaders. This magazine is “The Sex (oops scratch that), Coming Out (oh and scratch that one too), Obsession (oh, we’ve done that already so that’s gotta go too), Heartbreak (Had about enough of that…SCRATCH!), LOVE issue.” That’s right it’s all about the LOVE in this issue of TeenVogue and doesn’t our beautiful cover model just scream love?
I didn’t even allow myself to read the magazine because honestly, there was nothing in TeenVogue that would even remotely help me or anyone else to better understand what love is. After all, they group it’s importance level as that of every other topic they got bored with before so it must not be that important. I already had a very good idea of what their version of love might just look like. Now, in all fairness maybe I am wrong but does anyone else see what is wrong with this ENTIRE concept?
Where have the “millennials” gotten it so wrong? Quite simply put, they have chosen to listen to the wrong voice. The loudest voice. The world and all it’s publications and propagandas. They have chosen to look to the advice of these writers because they appeal to them and they seem “right”, they seem to have all the answers. They are bombarded with these magazines everywhere they go and they all scream the same things so how could they be wrong?
WE have failed them. We have failed them because our voices are no longer the loudest. How dare I say such a thing? Well, it’s the truth. I am sorry if that hurts or is hard to hear but let’s face it folks, our churches are changing scriptures, our “biblical teachers” are changing the values of the faith and making things acceptable that God has clearly outlined for us are not and we just agree. We nod our heads and say, “The Gospel changes as the world does. God is a God of love so we can’t judge that, we can’t know that, we can’t say that….it’s not “loving”.” We have traded TRUTH for ACCEPTANCE and TOLERANCE. We have begun to quiet our still small voice and instead jumped on the bandwagons of the world’s version of truth and those “millennials”…those young and sponge-like children of ours that we are pointing our fingers at in disgust…they are simply following OUR LEAD.
Oh friends, please, please hear me out. If you hear nothing else I am speaking, please hear this. We are ALL to blame. Every time we laid down our values for something shinier. Every time we succumb to the world’s megaphone of stances. Every time we had an opportunity to tell them the truth but chose to tell them what they wanted to hear. Every time we pointed a finger and placed all the blame on them and remained silent. Every time we chose to turn a blind eye and put our “righteous” noses in the air, we pushed them right up to that platform and gave them a free T-Shirt. We helped them to begin to think that their choices involved what the world had to offer.
Our next generation of leaders can only lead as they have seen those before them lead. They will only listen to the loudest voices and they will only choose what is easiest. And that is why, more than ever it is so vitally important that we stop and ask ourselves, “How loud is our voice?” “What do our actions speak about leadership, about truth, about righteousness? What do our lives teach those who are coming after us.”
When the children of Israel who had been in the wilderness with those who had been there for 40 years came out, they wanted to do more and seek God because someone chose to be the voice, someone chose to lead them in the RIGHT way. That person made their voice the loudest, above all the complaining, above all the wrong doing and sin, they chose to exemplify light and justice and truth. And that generation was hungry for more than what that wilderness had offered them and their generations before them. They wanted MORE and thankfully, someone stood up to offer them just that. Joshua. A man who chose to be louder and more determined than the sin around him, rose up and took the next generation into the Promised Land. He didn’t just point a finger at those “millennials” and say, “Man, you guys have screwed up big time. Sad. You had so much potential.” NO! He stood up and said, “This is the WAY. This is the TRUTH. STOP LISTENING TO THE LIES. DON’T REPEAT THEIR MISTAKES. Follow me, put your faith in God, trust in HIM and let’s get out of this wilderness. Whose with me!?!!?”
My dear brothers and sisters, we must take some accountability for what is happening in our next generation. They are broken. They are hungry for more and they are filling themselves up on empty promises and advice that is coated in lies. They need us to be strong and to be unashamed to preach the Gospel, the TRUE Gospel. They may not want to hear it but we must teach it and speak it no matter what because they ARE listening. They ARE watching us. They are taking it in and sooner or later, that Word will NOT return void. It can’t. It’s just impossible. The Bible tells us that. (Isaiah 55:11). It’s a seed that grows over time.
If we want to see true revival and we want to make a true difference, then it’s time we stop placing the blame solely on them and maybe be willing to ask if that blame also belongs on us? We must be humble enough to ask the Lord to forgive us for bending to the world, for craving the easy way, for remaining silent. We must become determined to be the voice they can no longer ignore. We must become a Joshua in a world full of grumpy old Israelites. We must be salt among the sugar.
It’s time we stop asking where they have gone wrong and start asking where we have gone wrong and pray that God will help us to make it right. We must pray that we can be the leaders and teachers they so desperately need.
I pray that this post inspires you to ask the hard questions, to seek out the Lord for our next generation and for a stirring to take place in our hearts to put on our armor, to mount up and go into battle for those who are broken behind us. I pray that God compels us to become the leaders and teachers they so desperately need and that where we have gone wrong in the past will be overshadowed by where we go right from this moment on.
It’s up to us. Their lives are literally at stake.
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
“Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down and when you rise up. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land of which the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, like the days of the heavens above earth.”
In Christ’s love,