From Baby Boomers to Generation Z and every generation in between, we all experience our share of problems. For every new generation that leaves its mark on the environment and society, new and interesting challenges arise.
Can the bible really keep up with all the changes that occur? How can this new generation, Generation Z (also known as Gen Z,) benefit from the advice of a book written so long ago?
As a millennial new stepmother of two Gen Z children, this topic is very close to my heart. I want to be prepared for the issues my stepchildren will face and want to show them how the bible can benefit them. My goal is to close the generation gap between us that is so common in families today.
I also want them to come to know and rely on God the same way I have so that they can also experience his blessings. Before I go any further, you may be asking yourself, who exactly makes up Gen Z?
Who Is Generation Z?
Gen Z is made up with young people born between 1995-2012, right after Millennials. They are also known as iGeneration or iGen and Post-Millennials. I’ve found the short video below, by The Infographics Show, to be helpful in explaining the differences between the Millennials and the Post-Millennials.
Within the last few years, we have been immersed in diversity and technological advancements. This is what Gen Z is experiencing daily. There are no longer stigmas attached to sexuality, color or race (although discrimination within these groups still exists.)
Everyone is trying to become more tolerant of each other’s differences. In fact, while watching TV the other day, I came across the news that they are now developing emojis to represent mixed race couples.
Although decisions like these have its advantages, automatic acceptance of what the media portrays can blur the line between what the bible says is right and wrong.
The Challenges That Generation Z Face (Matthew 11:16)
Each day brings new achievements and opportunities. Sometimes as parents, it’s difficult to determine what we should allow our kids to watch, scroll through, swipe or click. This leads to the major issue that Gen Z face: social media.
According to Jeremy Finch from Fast Company’s article, What Is Generation Z, And What Does It Want?, “The oldest members of this cohort (Gen Z) are barely 18 and they’re already getting a bad rap.
Media and market research companies have labeled them ‘screen addicts’ with the attention span of a gnat. And the pressure: They only have the weight of saving the world and fixing our past mistakes on their small shoulders.”
What a burden our kids have. While there are challenges that remain the same from the first generation onward, this new generation is experiencing problems that previous groups cannot begin to imagine. Their dilemmas remind me of Jesus’ words found in Matthew chapter 11 and the first portion of verse 16,
To what should I compare this generation? (Christian Standard Bible)
At this point, Jesus was discussing the unresponsive generation with his disciples.
Is this also how generation Z is being perceived? A generation that does anything for attention on social media to get “likes” from thousands of strangers while masking who they truly are?
The good news, however, is that according to the same article by Jeremy Finch, the world today offers this generation more options in life. There is a lot of information out there.
Because of this, Gen Z has adapted to quickly sorting through and evaluating a huge amount of information on their electronic devices. Once they see something that interests them, they stay absorbed and dedicated.
When we observe teenagers on their phones, we are in awe at the speed at which they read and type. The amount of posts and comments that they respond to in record times is amazing.
Gen Z is also being brought up to disregard the regular 9-5 job and create startup ventures of their own, usually online.
I can’t begin to list the number of young ones who have created successful apps, YouTube video or are being paid by advertisers for the social media pretense.
While I have no complaints about their career choices, how are their decisions affecting their family? What about their relationship with God?
Generation Gap in The Family (Romans 12:2)
A common complaint with Gen Z is that their parents do not understand them. To be honest though, as a millennial, I’ve used this expression myself.
But doesn’t it seem as if the generation gap is becoming wider and wider with each generation? But what exactly is this gap?
Generation gap refers to the breakdown of communication and understanding between young ones and adults. Young ones feel that the adults are responsible for the terrible conditions of this world today and as I mentioned earlier, adults feel that youths are becoming more and more irresponsible, selfish and ungrateful.
Families aren’t exempt from this gap. Even Christian families struggle to bridge the gap between parents and children.
I’m sure you can agree that whether we are Christians or not, we want to avoid the dangers this gap can create in pour family and make the necessary changes to strengthen our family. The bible can help with this. How?
To begin, the bible identifies the dangers that exist for young Christians. It is easy for them to be distracted by the negative influences of this world.
Every bad example, terrible ideas and immoral act is available for free at their fingertips. Whether they are at school, in the neighborhood or out with friends, they are surrounded by intentions, philosophies and desires that are contrary to what the bible teaches. Therefore, the apostle Paul warned at Romans chapter 12 verse 2:
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. (New Living Translation)
I have two teenage nephews and I’m sure that my sister will confirm, following the advice that the apostle Paul gave is not easy. Teenagers find it especially hard to do what is right when so many of their peers are doing the opposite.
My youngest nephew, who is currently sixteen, knows what he is supposed to do as a young Christian. But being different at school paints a target on his back. It opens him up to bullying and teasing.
If you are following the rules and doing well in school, you are a “teacher’s pet.” If you speak up when you see something wrong, you are a “snitch.”
If you aren’t dating and “sleeping around” as a teenager, something must be “wrong” with you. I am SO glad I’m no longer in high school! It’s tough for our young ones today.
I find that some parents find it difficult to put themselves in their children’s shoes. We must acknowledge that things have changed.
The environment of this generation is completely different from how we grew up. When I was growing up, having standards and morals were normal.
Today, if you are following the bible’s teachings, you are viewed as abnormal. Most young people want to fit in with society, not stand out (unless they are standing out on social media, then it’s perfectly acceptable.)
These are certainly confusing times. So, what can parents and others do to close the generation gap and help Gen Z?
You can try the below family-friendly games to start bridging the generation gap.
How Generation Z Can Benefit from The Bible (Proverbs 3:5-7)
Despite the various obstacle Gen Z faces, many of our youths to follow what the bible says and make God happy. I’ve found the bible’s counsel at Proverbs chapter 3 verses 5-7 to be extremely helpful.
Not just for Gen Z but all generations connected by their desire to serve our Creator to the best of our ability. That scripture states:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; in all your ways know him, and he will make your paths straight. Don’t be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil. (Christian Standard Bible)
There are so many spiritual gems we can gain from just those three verses. Let’s break it down and see how Gen Z can apply and benefit from them.
- Firstly, trusting in the Lord with all our hearts means that we will rely on him no matter what happens in life. Sometimes we may be so close to a situation that we cannot see the way out. Young persons may not have enough life experience to separate what is right from wrong, especially when there isn’t a clear line between the two. At other times, Gen Z may be so caught up on their own feelings or what everyone else is saying on social media that they lose focus on what they know is right. This is where trust comes in. When we aren’t strong enough to make the best decisions, we know that we can put complete confidence in our Lord and he will help us with whatever we are facing.
- Secondly, Gen Z should resist the temptation to rely solely on themselves. The older generation sometimes uses the expression that young people today believe they know everything. If we are working on being humble servants of God, we would never feel this way. Gen Z can learn from the bible commandments God set for us and the reasons why he did so. Gen Z can also learn from previous generations who have also experienced challenges during their lifetime and how they overcame them using the bible. The bible gems that my grandparents have passed down to me are priceless. I will treasure them forever and pass them along to my own family.
- Thirdly, Gen Z can be confident that once they come to know God in every aspect of life, he will make their paths straight. In other words, he will guide you and protect you, but you first need to know him. We get to know God by reading the bible and trusting in him. We will then see his blessings as we put into practice his teachings.
- Finally, not being wise in your own eyes goes to what I earlier stated on humility. Gen Z is surrounded by technology. If there is something that you don’t know, there are numerous avenues to request and receive information. Take the time out to do research. There are tools available to help make bible reading and research quicker, easier and more fun.
Growing up I had one option: opening the bible book and reading it. Today, Gen Z can read the bible, listen to it or watch live bible dramas on their smart devices. If you have any helpful bible research tools you want to share, please feel free to do so in the comments below.
I’ll confess, none of these scriptural gems may be natural or easy to apply. Verse 7 of Proverbs chapter 3 ends by saying, “fear the Lord and turn away from evil.” This shows us that it is easy to fall into doing what is wrong.
It takes effort and determination to turn away from the badness we are surrounded by. The rest of the verses and others throughout the bible proves, however, that it can be done and tells us how.
It takes a deep study of God’s word along with meditating on what it says followed by implementing them in our lives. The scriptural advice found in this post not only benefits Generation Z but can help any generation.
Every Generation Can Benefit from Bible Teachings!
No matter what generation we are a part of, we can benefit from studying the scriptures and following its advice.
The problems we are facing now and the problems generations after us will face can be solved using the bible. In fact, I talk about other struggles we face and how the bible can help overcome those.
The bible is so versatile, it can bridge gaps between generations, show generations how they can successfully handle their responsibilities and how they can strengthen their relationships with their families and with God.
We never want to think that the bible is too outdated to help us. The practical advice found in the bible will never be outdated!
Thank you for digging into these scriptural gems with me! Do you know of any other scriptures that can help young ones that are a part of Generation Z? Please share in the comments below!