One of the amazing things about the internet is that it allows a lot of “niche” businesses to thrive from practically anywhere. A person can start a business with little or no overhead and still reach enough people to make a living. There are people who make a living selling items that say “Hire a teenager while they still know everything.” We all get a good laugh when we see that saying, because we’ve raised teenagers, or know people who did, or are doing that, or we remember our teenage years. I fondly remember those years when I knew more than my parents, teachers, or anyone older than me. Yet, even though I was, for a brief span of time, one of the smartest people in the world, the problems of the world still continued.
Once I got into my twenties, though, I realized that those old folks in their 30’s and 40’s had something to teach me. The older I’ve grown, the more I realize that I have a lot to learn from those who are older and more experienced. Now that I’m in my <transmission garbled> I realize that not only should I be learning from those few people older than me, I can also learn a lot from those who are younger – even teenagers and those younger. It’s easy to grow old and crotchety, as those who know me might say, and so it’s important for me to remember the joy and excitement of life that these younger folks have. Peter reminds us to show humility in our dealings across generations. “In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, ‘God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.’” (1 Peter 5:5 NIV)
The attitudes that those from different generations have towards each other is not recent, as Peter’s words attest. We all imagine that our generation is the smartest, most advanced generation to ever exist, although someone coined the term “The Greatest Generation” for those from the World War II generation and I wouldn’t argue that point. Peter, in this passage begins by appealing to the elders of the church to act humbly towards those under their care. When Peter turned towards those who were younger, his admonition was that they, IN THE SAME WAY, would submit to their elders and act humbly towards them. It’s amazing how many times I’ve seen this verse used as an admonition to those who are younger to respect their elders without remembering that Peter reminded them that this respect was to be a two way street.
The one virtue that people ought to see from Christians above all others is humility. Too often what they see from Christians is arrogance. We fight each other over whose view of God is the best. We attack those who aren’t followers of Christ by pointing out their sins while overlooking our own. If I were not a follower of Christ I might point out the declining church attendance, the number of Christians caught in their sin, and the obvious lack of growth among Christians and ask, “How’s that working for you?” What would happen if we began showing humility instead of arrogance? If we started listening to others instead of attacking them? If we want to change the world and introduce them to Jesus, perhaps we ought to change our methods to the kind that Jesus used.
Oh Lord, how often have I been arrogant when I’ve had so many reasons to be humble? Let me live each day in humility, loving others as You have loved them.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.