The notion of a “generation gap” is not new. It was well established in the 1960’s when I was in my youth. Back then it seemed the younger generation was intent on separating itself from all that had gone before. Youth were determined to be free from constraints and expectations put on them by their parents.
Wearing jeans, having long hair and listening to rock music were signs of rebellion by youth, who did so against the wishes of their parents, to prove that the youth could make their own way and not be subverted by parental expectations.
We had the sense back then that prior to our time things had continued with greater continuity from one generation to the next. It seemed to us that a revolution was underway and that children were cutting themselves off from their parents more seriously than ever before.
I don’t know that the perception was completely accurate. But it is easy to believe that a process of increasing separation from previous generations was underway.
Today, however, that sense of disconnect from the previous generation is more acute than ever. We now speak not of the young versus the old, but of there being multiple different cultures in increasingly narrow age bands.
The “baby-boomers”, which accounts for my generation, were different to the “veterans” who went before them, and are quite apart from the Gen X’ers who followed. But while both boomers and X’ers are on the scene Gen Y is already upon us. Supposedly the gap between Gen X and Gen Y is as great as between the Gen X and the boomers. To top it off today’s youngsters are now dubbed Generation Z, or digital natives, who are expected to have yet a different set of values to Generation Y.
It seems that a process of cultural disconnect is accelerating and what may once have been a generation gap is now becoming a gap of multiple generations.
An Anointing Is Needed
With that background take a moment to reflect on the last verses of the Old Testament, in Malachi 4:5,6.
“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he will turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” Malachi 4:5,6
A prophetic anointing has been promised by God to do what might today seem impossible: to turn the hearts of parents and children toward each other.
So there is an anointing which God provides that is able to do just that, despite how much more difficult it might seem in today’s situation.
Don’t Be Fooled by Labels
While it may seem intriguing to think of today’s kids as different from youth a hundred years ago don’t be too hasty to swallow the idea.
Remember that God created man thousands of years ago and the heart of man has remained the same ever since. Man’s heart is evil and deceptive, sold under sin. Man is readily seduced by worldly values, especially those that appeal to self gratification, appease our sense of value and feed our pride (the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and the pride of life – 1John 2:16).
Men, women and youth were categorised by King Solomon, in the height of his benchmark wisdom, into a few basic distinctions, including fools, wise, evil, angry, and so on.
All the labels in the world, created by worldly observers, may trick you into thinking that there is a real and tangible gulf that should exist between you and those of different generations. Yet mankind has not changed. Evil people are still evil people. Fools are still fools. Godly are still godly. And so on.
And people of vast age differences have always been able to relate, despite man’s tendency to be selfish, rebellious and foolish.
Notice that the intergenerational connection promised in Malachi is not one of mind, interests, fashion, joint ventures, playing on the same team, or the like. It is all about the heart. The heart is the heart of the matter.
God, by His Spirit, is ready to create a heart connection between the generations. It is about the heart and a heart bond. It is about compassion, respect, care, bonding, love and relationship.
People of different professions, different ages, different political persuasions, with different tastes, abilities and interests, can love one another and care for one another. That is readily obvious when we see parents care for children who have chosen a vastly different life direction to that which the parent wishes for them.
So God has an anointing which will turn the hearts of the parents toward those children who now seem so hard to understand and so difficult to relate to. And God has an anointing which will turn the heart of those children toward those parents who seem to them to be so out of touch, irrelevant, overbearing, or otherwise disconnected to them.
Don’t Lose Heart
If generational barriers have invaded your home or put a gulf between you and others, don’t lose heart. All is not lost. This is not something that has to be. God has an anointing that will bridge the supposed gaps and turn the hearts toward one another.
If you are struggling with generational gaps let me suggest a prayer for you to offer to the Lord.
“Lord God, You know that my heart is not perfect before You. I am susceptible to the same things that distract others. So I don’t come to You because I deserve anything, but I come to You asking for grace and mercy on me and my family. I ask You to turn my heart toward my children and those around me who I am distanced from. And I ask You to turn their hearts toward me. Give us Your grace so we can love, accept and forgive one another. Turn each of us toward You, so we each come closer to each other. Give me such a heart of compassion that I overlook and even hide a multitude of sins, rather than reacting to them and letting them pollute my heart.
Please send Your anointing into me and my family, and bring about a healing. Remove all the offences, injuries, resentments, distrust, shame, pride, selfishness and other rubbish that has polluted our home and our relationships. And please glorify Yourself in my family. Cause Your name to be exalted by what others see that You have done in me and for me, and in my family. Be glorified by acting gloriously in my situation. I ask this in the lovely and powerful name of Jesus Christ. Amen.”