By changing one letter of a word you can often change the meaning so much that there is day and night difference between the original word and your new word. Take the word night itself for example. One little change of the first letter, and you have light, which is night and day difference from night.
So much is being said in these days of the generation gap that to speak of a veneration gap leaves the impression that one has misspoken when the word should be generation gap. But changing the word to veneration does not however make a night and day difference. It is exactly in the matter of veneration that the present generation departs so clearly from generations that have gone by and no longer are upon this earth. The present generation, and now we are speaking about the generation of the children of the world and not of the church, is characterized by such a lack of veneration that we deem it fitting to say a few things about this matter.
As far as the “generation gap” is concerned, let us understand that it is a normal thing that there is a gap between the generations. And we speak then of a gap that does not necessarily imply sin. Of course there is a gap between the parents and their newborn babe. That gap will close somewhat as the child grows. Parents and child will soon be able to communicate. Not infrequently does it happen that later on father and son set up business together as equal partners. But there also comes a time when the parents enter into their “second childhood” and a gap again begins to appear. A serious stroke that silences the tongue, or makes it useless as a means of communication, widens the gap even more. Ultimately the grave removes the one from the other generation, and a final gap appears.
God ordained it that way. And it is by His wise counsel that the child does not come into this world as the equal of his parent. Many forms of lower life have no such gap, and others have it very briefly. The disease germs that multiply so rapidly, that divide and multiply, are equal in their devastating effects upon our bodies with their “parents,” all at the same time. The young of the wild beasts mature very rapidly, and soon are equal fighters with their forebears. The offspring of man, the highest of all God’s earthly creatures, takes the longest to attain to the strength and development that his parent had at the time of this child’s birth. A rather strange quirk, is it not? in the so-called process of evolution that this “higher” creature gets a set-back in this respect of the time it takes for him to mature. But we are speaking of veneration in the younger generation at this time, and we will let the evolutionist puzzle his mind about that other “problem.”
But, as we were stating, the child develops physically and mentally at a rather slow pace. There is bound to be a gap then between the knowledge and wisdom of the older generation and of the coming generation. And all too frequently parents are not able to see any more with the eyes of the child, and thus to view matters as they saw them in their childhood days; and they are harsh and provoke to wrath when there is no need for it. Often the tension of the day, as well as the cares of the family, bear down upon the parent, and he withdraws from his child, or briskly brushes his questions and attention away. This, of course, is wrong and creates a generation gap where there ought not be one. Undersigned often has to struggle with a God created generation gap in the course of giving instruction in one morning to three successive groups of children that fall into the six through eight, nine and ten, and eleven and twelve year level. An adjustment has to be made each time, especially to get down to the level of the six through eight year old children. It takes extra preparation to close this gap of this generation and to present the truth on their level.
Of course when we speak of a generation gap today, we are not thinking of that normal generation gap that God created, and which we can never change. But the generation gap that is spoken of today is exactly one in which there is a veneration gap. Modern youth in the world rebels against all that which the generation of his parents and their parents stand for and established. Youth does not respect the labors and toils of the former generations. They have no qualms about defying all the old order and of demonstrating for what they, in their immature thinking, demand as the right way.
Now we must remember that this is to be expected, and that it cannot be any other way, according to the Word of God. We had to come to the days which we now see; and we better expect worse conditions in the future. God’s Word says so, as we will presently point out to you. But consider at the moment that from the very beginning there has been a continuous development of sin, and that every generation carries that sin a degree further. This plays a vital role in the generation gap today that is bigger than we have ever seen it before. Mere children dare to do such drastic deeds, deeds from which adults shrank in awful horror in years gone by, that we need but compare this with only a few generations back, and we see that there is a development of sin that threatens our whole society in this very day.
The ripe old ages of men before the flood served to make a very rapid development of sin, so rapid that in about 1,500 years the world was ready for the judgment of the flood. Men lived long and were able to develop in their sins. Death did not cut them short in their improving of the sin-skills. Likewise they lived long enough to teach their evil practices to many younger men, and to several generations of men. And before we leave this matter, let it be pointed out to us as a serious warning, that the same conditions exist today in a somewhat altered form. Men do not live more than the proverbial threescore years and ten, or by reason of strength for fourscore years. But consider that today we have these amazing means of communication whereby one man’s influence can be UNIVERSAL! Take television, for example, with its network features that are by communication satellite beamed even to other countries. Besides we have all these books which can be written, printed in several languages, and remain long after the author’s death to corrupt the minds of many future generations. We do have a situation very similar to that of the days of Noah; and the world is rapidly becoming ripe for another and the final judgment.
And we must add to this the Word of God that gives warning of more terrible days ahead. Rebellion is to be seen everywhere today in every sphere of life. The younger generation has seen it in the older generations and liked what they saw. The rebellion of the strikes in the field of labor have not gone unnoticed by the youth of the land. They saw something they could borrow for their revolt in the colleges. And a yippee recently boldly, in an interview, boasted of having shown contempt of the court that tried him because of deeds of violence. How do we explain it? Let the wisest of mortals tell us. Had we heeded his word, we would not be in the explosive situation in which we now find ourselves. This is what Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 8:11, “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.” Does that not hit the nail right on the head? And still there are those who decry capital punishment for the murderer, even though this same Word of God demands it. There is no respect for the courts, because the courts will not execute speedily the workers of evil. The criminal receives a more tender treatment than his victim. And when the police try to do their duty, there are hundreds and thousands who have no respect for the God-ordained offices in the State and cry cruelty and injustice. What can we in such a situation expect in the future?
The fifth commandment stands as a bulwark towards the other five that follow. And when all honour, respect and veneration of those whom God has placed over us disappear, then the sins of murder, adultery, theft, deceit and evil covetousness are going to abound.
And if our children are not taught in the home to honour father and mother for God’s sake, they will not know it in Church and State. Then you can expect riots, revolt, rebellion and revolution. We have sown the wind and are reaping the whirlwind.
Our children are growing up in this lawless age. And rebellion looks good to them, that is, to their flesh, you may be sure. We as parents and office bearers in God’s Church had better take extra pains to teach them law and order in love. We had better be very careful that we as parents and office bearers do not become pampering, “peace” loving imitators of Eli, whose children receive nothing more than a plea from us when they rise up in rebellion and flaunt the law of God.
There is another pointed warning in the Word of God that shows us what this veneration gap will produce. We read in Psalm 11:3, “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” Men are exactly by their lawlessness and riots destroying the foundations. When the fifth commandment is flaunted, and when men practice lawlessness and disorder, the very foundation of government is attacked. If then, as is the case today, those who are there to uphold that foundation and to demand respect as well as to punish the lawless fail to do so, the righteous can do nothing. But that is stating it negatively and from one point of view. Then the unrighteous will have free sway and continue until they have destroyed all government. We will get back to the days of the Judges when every man did that which was right in his own eyes.
Unless our leaders wake up SOON, the crumbling foundations will be a complete rubble heap, and woe to the righteous in our land! It is bad enough now when murderers are treated with tender loving care, and the abused are refused their rights because there might be infringement upon the “rights” of the murderer. As we stated, a yippee leader can openly confess with bold pride that he defied and deliberately showed contempt of court, and nothing, absolutely nothing is done about this open, bold challenge to the laws and courts of our land. We are fast approaching the days of widespread if not national anarchy. The veneration gap indeed is a law and order gap. Since the days when violence and riot in the sit-down strikes allowed men to hold and destroy factories and property with impunity, this evil has spread to every area of life, and we are reaping the whirlwind. The harvest, sad to say, is far from complete.
Let us teach our children, the generation of the sons of God, in His fear. Let us teach them to be good citizens for God’s sake. And let us beware lest an underground church spring up also in our midst, because we have not taught them veneration, respect for the offices and for the Word of God. If we attack that Word, and allow our professors to attack its infallibility, we too will reap the whirlwind in our churches. If we set an example for them in strikes and riots in the field of labour, we must not be surprised to see them learn their lessons well and push us out of our offices in the church, and even out of our churches. Sin breeds sin. It cannot be otherwise. Let there be no veneration gap in our families and churches. But let us strive for an ever increasing gap between us and our children and SIN!