Mary Coleman: Lacking self-awareness

NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Monday, May 21st. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from member-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. “Kids these days!” That’s a familiar refrain older generations use to grouse about the shortcomings they see in younger people.

MARY COLEMAN, COMMENTATOR: Yet commentator Mary Coleman thinks Baby Boomers are missing something.

I am surrounded by millennials.

In fact, my seven children, their spouses, my work colleagues, my boss, and my pastor are all millennials. I esteem them highly, and God is using each one to enrich my life and advance His kingdom.

But it’s been my observation that we Baby Boomers don’t often think of millennials this way. I hear a lot of complaining and very little commending.

I recently ran a Google search for the phrase: “What’s wrong with millennials?”… And up came 2.5 million results!

The first article I came upon was written by a Christian millennial who lamented his parents’ divorce. He pointed out that his generation saw more divorce than any other generation in history. While we may be distressed by modern-day cohabitation and sexual freedom, this young author contends that our generation has contributed to their lackluster view of marriage.

It’s hard to argue with him.

Many young people raised in Christian homes have stopped attending church because they don’t see fruit in other areas of our lives. Our churches are insular. Our political views are just as polarizing as the views of non-Christians they know.

It seems to me that our generation has bequeathed a heap of brokenness upon millennials.

So, what can we do? If we want our children to have strong marriages, for example, we should be humble enough to admit where our marriages went off the rails. This humility is rare but necessary for effective parenting.

Or how about our desire for millennials to be more resilient in the face of social problems? Protests and sit-ins may seem like senseless whining to us, but what Biblical alternatives have we offered for engaging in the public square?

Whether it’s their concern for affordable housing, access to health care, or the safety of immigrants, I see millennials caring deeply about their neighbors in ways we didn’t when we were their age. Millennials have human suffering on a constant reel in their hands. Have you ever thought about the incredible burden that places upon them to do something?

The answer is not as simple as putting down their phones and getting off of Facebook. Refusing to look doesn’t make pain and injustice go away.

I’m convinced Christian millennials often reflect the heart of God. The scriptures offer countless directives to help the poor, the fatherless, and the widow. The Bible is clear that God hates greed, partiality, and oppression. Jesus himself elevated women and the marginalized to places of honor. This is what millennials often do.

Micah chapter 6 verse 8 says, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

Millennials may not be great at the “walk humbly” part, but we aren’t so great either if all we do is critique them.

Titus 2 commands older men and women to impart wisdom to the younger. If we don’t wade into the issues facing our children and model righteous living, then secular forces will fill the void that we leave.

For WORLD Radio, I’m Mary Coleman.

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