As a young man I often felt that the generation before me (my parent’s generation) did not understand nor respect the lifestyle and values of my age-group. Now, standing in the same situation as my parents did 30+ years ago, it is my own children (young adults) that have expressed their feelings of being misunderstood and disrespected by my generation.
I think that this tension is true for every new generation, especially in North American society. So what can we learn from history? Is mutual understanding and respect something to be earned, learned, or something implicitly inherent in all of us?
I take comfort in the wisdom and actions of the Apostle Paul. Here was a forward leader who knew how to lead cross-generationally. In other words, Paul knew how to relate well to the younger and older generations alike. In 1 Timothy 5:1-2, we read the words of Paul to his protégé, Timothy: “Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and with all propriety, the younger women as sisters.”
Through Paul’s words to young Timothy, God is teaching us biblical respect for each other. I cannot speak for others, but I do want my life to be an example of understanding and respect for the young and old equally. Please consider the same endeavour.
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