Honor Each Other

I’m on vacation this week, so I’ve asked Ryan Romeo to share a message with you. Read on:

Honor Each Other

As many of you know, this weekend David kicked off the new sermon series called Generational Blessing. We dove into the desire to hear wisdom from scripture about the blessing and wisdom that generations can pass down. We also tackled the sobering reality that our days on earth are numbered.

I loved how it spurred on many conversations on the subject. I talked with young and old about how we need to honor and respect one another. We talked about differences between the older and younger generations. It is definitely a subject that people are anxious to dive into. 

But why?

Our culture is changing rapidly. We have five generations alive on the earth today. Technology is shifting exponentially, and along with it, cultural norms and values. Everyone, the younger generations included, is struggling to keep up. And as everything changes, divides among generations are widening.

Scripture tells us a lot on the subject. Proverbs speaks to young people and tells them to outwardly honor and value your parents (the generation before you). Solomon puts it this way:

Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction
and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
They are a garland to grace your head
and a chain to adorn your neck.
—Proverbs 1:8-9 (NIV)

I love this! Wear it as a garland to grace your head. In other words, wear it on the outside, as something you are proud of. We have a rich and beautiful past that needs to take the seat of honor. There is wisdom we need to take time to glean from the previous generation. The wins and how they accomplished them. The mistakes and how we can avoid them. The consequences of not valuing this wisdom are dire. Our spiritual and physical lives are on the line, and we can use all the advice we could get. So, young people, go out of your way to soak up this kind of wisdom. You won’t regret it.

But, as it is with everything, there is also another side of this coin.

Recently, I have noticed something that troubles me. When anyone mentions millennials, there seems to be a collective, derisive groan that arises. And it isn’t just the baby boomers groaning about them. I’ve noticed younger people do it too. Millennials groaning about millennials! 

And I get it! I’m a millennial. We can be entitled and slow to step into responsibility. We can spend too much on coffee and expect our jobs to be easy. So yes, millennials, in many ways, have earned a derisive chuckle. I’m willing to bet it isn’t unique to this generation either. The greatest generation probably chuckled at baby boomers for a lot of the same reasons.

But here is the danger: You cannot influence a group of people you have derision for. You cannot pass on wisdom to a person you don’t like or respect. Condescension undermines influence. 

And it goes both ways! If you are young and have derision and a condescending attitude toward the previous generation, you will miss out on gleaning wisdom.

So what’s the antidote? How do we build bridges and not walls?  Humility. Honor. Respect. On both sides. 

Young people, take time to learn from the previous generation. Seek them out. They have done a lot more than you have, and they have invaluable wisdom to share.

People over fifty, millennials are about to turn forty, and they are the largest number of people in our workforce. They need your discipleship and wisdom. They need your support and insight. Seek them out. Take them out to coffee and share your insight.

We need to pray that the church is the odd-but-beautiful place where generations love and honor one another. Where we value connection more than we fear differences. If we do, we will see godly wisdom flourish for generations to come.

—Ryan