Even more so than the generations before us, Millennials have grown up in a culture driven by political correctness. We’ve attended college campuses with “Free Speech Zones,” and we’ve been led to believe that any and all criticism is bad and used purely for belittling someone. More and more, Christians are being told that whatever we believe is fine as long as we keep it to ourselves.
For the millennial Christian, this PC-ism has infiltrated our response to sinful behavior inside the church. We aren’t being taught from the pulpit on how to deal with uncomfortable situations in which we address a fellow believer’s sin. This includes all kinds of sins, but the silence is most conspicuous when addressing my generations’ turning from Scriptural ideas of sex, relationships, and marriage. I’m finding that many believers are living with their boyfriends/girlfriends, and along with that are engaging in intimate relationships outside of the constructs of marriage. So, in a time when culture, media, and even our churches are telling us to be quiet, how do we respond to another Christian’s living in a cohabiting relationship? The task seems larger than one we can handle, but here are some key things to remember as we let go of the PC-ism, and begin the process of lovingly correcting our friends.
Not all criticism is bad.
When presented with hard situations that involve our Christian peers, we have been conditioned to think our best response is to “judge not,” and let them “live their lives.” Our silent response is then interpreted as tacit approval. Our friends need our criticism, and we need to understand that criticism isn’t about hurting someone’s feelings. We actually see criticism in our everyday lives, and criticism is crucial for growing us into better, whole, human beings. An example of good criticism would be the act of teaching and coaching. We would never look at our English teacher’s notes on our paper and feel like we’ve been put down for our work. We would see that as an opportunity to make improvements to become a better writer. A football player would never feel offended by his coach instructing him to run a play until it is perfected. Criticism is constructive and produces healthy results. If we care about our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, we should be ready and willing to offer criticism.
This is not about you. These words aren’t yours, but God’s.
We are not simply voicing our opinions, but rather advocating for the truth of the Word of God. We know what God’s word says about fleeing from sexual immorality and the bondage that it can bring if we do not flee. Thankfully we can rely on the objective truth of God’s word to speak with our friends on these hard-hitting issues. We don’t have to play defense when we confront our Christian friends’ sin because this isn’t a fight; this is purely standing on what Scripture says about marriage and cohabitation. When the Lord presents us with an opportunity to speak about these kinds of issues with our friends, He will also equip us with the right words to say.
That being said, God will open the door for these conversations, we do not have to force them open. All we have to do is listen to the Holy Spirit’s guidance on approaching these subjects. We do want to address sin boldly, but we do not want to make our Christian brother or sister feel as though we’re calling out their sin in order to make ourselves feel better.
Millennials have a desire for the genuine.
This approach to sin in the lives of our friends should appeal to Millennials. After all, Millennials want people to be real with them. They talk against hypocrites and fakeness. This is our opportunity to be the most real with our peers. If we can’t come honestly to our friends who say they hold the same values and beliefs as we do, then how genuine is that? If we can’t disciple our friends in love and respect, then are they really our friends? The kinds of conversations coming from these relationships don’t look like tongue lashings and Bible-beating. They come from bringing up tough issues with hopes that the Lord would use us to show our sins to one another. That means going beyond the pleasantries of small talk with our close, Christian friends and having very real, very open discussions. But keep in mind that one discussion will not be the end of it. When have you ever learned something after hearing about it one time? So entering these waters will require patience, humility, honesty, and integrity. Whatever you, whatever you say, as long as you are led by the Holy Spirit and speak from Scripture, you are going to be on a solid footing.