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What Older Christians Want Younger Christians to Know 4- Mutually Rewarding Relationship with Us

What Older Christians Want Younger Christians to Know
Day 4- Mutually Rewarding Relationship with Us
Ruth P. McDonald

“Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5, ESV)
“Train the young women to love their husbands and children.” (Titus 2:4, ESV)
“Submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (Ephesians 5:21, ESV)

Good relationships between older Christians and younger ones are a beautiful thing to see, and they are so needed. Too often we get comfortable in our own group of friends of similar age and don’t really show much interest in forming a bond with those outside our peer group. I think that’s a tremendous loss. Scripture encourages us to connect with one another on a much deeper level. This will require more than a “How’s school going?” or “How’s your health?” Although that’s a great starting point, we must go beyond the surface to form a bond that will be mutually beneficial.

Why might a younger believer benefit from a close relationship with an older one? First, older believers are a great source of advice. Having been around much longer, they have insight that will shed light on many of the issues young people face. Another benefit is the ability to learn from the older saints. What can you learn from their example, and what questions can you ask that will give you more clarity in the swirling doubts you have at times? An older Christian can pray specifically for your needs. They should be a safe place to take your worries and fears to, and you know they are there for you. Parents are great for filling some of these, but developing relationships outside of the familial sphere is so beneficial.

What can we older believers learn from the younger generation? First, we can become more in tune with the pressures our young people face from society. They are a fresh voice that captures much of what we may no longer naturally consider on our own. Hearing things from their perspective is helpful in knowing how to make youth outreach work more effective. We must let go of some of our rigid traditions in order to make strides in reaching out to today’s youth. Who better to learn from than those who are young. Sitting down with young believers and asking what ideas they have for effective evangelism among their peers would be a wise investment of our time.

God’s family is diverse—in culture, in gender, in race and in age. It functions best, though, when those differences help us understand one another better rather than divide us. There is so much we can learn from one another, but we must put in the effort to develop these relationships. While you may not be able to become close with each person in your church family, choose a few outside your age range that you can connect with. If you’re younger, reach out to a few who are older than you.

Making ourselves approachable and available is an important part of connecting with others. If we are neither of those, people will not want to come to us for help and advice. Being kind and compassionate goes a long way too. If you’re an older Christian and the younger kids never approach you (think outside your family tree), you are likely off-putting. Consider softening your ways and plugging in to what the younger generation is experiencing. Interact with them in a productive and caring way. If you’re a younger Christian, consider the value of developing a relationship with a few older believers. You’ll find it worth your time and effort and find them to be a valuable resource through your formative years.

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