By Jimmy McCarty
Part III continued from Part II.
We are a generation of skeptics. We are groomed to critique, to criticize, to filter everything that comes our way. We like proof, especially for that which seems outlandish or improbable. For that which has no logical proof we appreciate testimony and validation. We know from our own experience that truth is gleaned through experience. We, sometimes foolishly, allow our emotions to dictate that which we accept as truth because what we experience cannot be denied.
If this scares you, it should. A generation that defines truth by the way it feels can be flighty and manipulated. Our response is an intense distrust toward things which advertise themselves to be truth. We are much more willing to accept a friend’s recommendation than a stranger’s logical proof. Why? Because experience, results, and promises of happiness are much firmer validations of truth than fact, at least in our own minds.
When we relate, we operate in a community that values individual experience. An underlying acceptance of each other’s unique circumstances and emotions lies at the root of our relationships. In general, this tolerance gives us a reason to trust one another. The message of the Gospel, as a strictly intolerant message (though grace-filled), is counter-cultural to everything we value. To hear that Christ is the only way, the standard by which all truth is measured, is threatening to our existence and condemning to those who have not experienced such truth or choose to rebel against the oppressive nature of such mandates.
The role of the Holy Spirit has become more and more critical as His supernatural work changes the hearts of those in my generation to experience the true life offered by Christ’s message. The role of Christian peers in my generation has also risen to a critical status.
To my Christian peers: the unbelieving of our generation need us. They need our stories, testimonies, evidence of our emotional experience that Christ is worth their consideration. They need a reason to see beyond the “intolerance” of the Gospel to see the life that is available. They need time to see Christ work in you; they need to see a counter-cultural love and Christian acceptance of who they are come from your mouth and your actions. They need to see the freedom through the perceived oppression and experience true life.
It’s time to see beyond ourselves – a feat which, in and of itself, is counter-cultural. Christ said to love God above all and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Ask God for the vision to see beyond the end of your own nose and see others for who they are: beloved by God. It’s time to stop asking where God is and why He would allow travesty, depression and suffering to touch the world, and start asking why, with a completely able-bodied church and body of believers, more are not working for the betterment of the kingdom and the care of those distanced from the loving arms of our Father. It’s our generation’s turn to stop working against the system and start making the system work for us.
Jimmy McCarty received a Bachelor’s degree at the University of Florida and a Master’s in Theological Studies from Bethel Theological Seminary. He is a native Floridian and is currently traveling the globe participating in overseas missions. He is an avid student of leadership and missions and hopes to incorporate both into his future. You can follow his journey here.