Wise or Wisecracker
What is the difference between wisdom and knowledge? How do we wisely use our knowledge to build generational unity?
“Does the Baby Boomer generation recognize that Millennials think they ruined the planet?” he earnestly asked.
My brain darted for an answer. My first thought was a sarcastic remark about the new straw law in California. No, that won’t help. I briefly explained the many things that had improved environmentally due to actions of Boomers and Xers. I also explained that Boomers were upset with the traditionalists when they were his age for the same reason.
“Oh”, he said, “so this is a typical reaction from one generation to the next?”
“Yes”, I said. “It is the continual struggle for unity of the body from one generation to the next.”
You see, we, the older generation, need to recognize this age old temptation. We are not to be defensive when the younger seek our input or make a judgmental statement. We are to apply what we know with wisdom. Titus 2:2 says (NLT) “Teach the older men to exercise self-control, to be worthy of respect, and to live wisely. They must have sound faith and be filled with love and patience.”
With age we gain both wisdom and knowledge. Each day we are exposed to more and more information. As we take it in, it increases our knowledge. As a teacher, this is important to me. It is the essence of what I do. But if we are not teachable, new knowledge is wasted. We are reminded of this in Ecclesiastes 7:9-10 (NLT) 9 “Control your temper, for anger labels you a fool. 10 Don’t long for “the good old days.” This is not wise.”
Wisdom is recognizing how to use our knowledge. This is especially true when it comes to communicating with other generations. In August devotional, I wrote about the knowledge of God’s opinion in relation to the generations. I quoted Psalm 71:18-19 that says “Now that I am old and gray, do not abandon me, O God. Let me proclaim your power to this new generation, your mighty miracles to all who come after me. Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the highest heavens. You have done such wonderful things. Who can compare with you, O God?” How do we share our knowledge wisely?
Ask yourself the following questions:
Is the way I apply my knowledge affectively impacting the next generation?
Am I wise enough to recognize other generations, both older and younger, can teach me?
Am I stubbornly holding onto traditions that are not anchored in the gospel?
These are huge questions. If a defensiveness rose up in response to any of them, take it to the Lord. Ask the Holy Spirit what to teach what is to be learned and wisely applied. Isn’t God good to want to continue to grow us more and more like Jesus? Don’t give up! Press in, let the Lord do a new thing.