Making fun of millennials has become a national pastime in recent years, and I’ll admit that I’ve joined in the fun on an occasion or two.
This is a bit self-destructive, however, because I find myself in the upper age-limit of the category. Far too often I’ve found myself looking at the age group I’m placed in and going, “What in the world?” Millennials have an incredible ability to say and do the most absurd things. Christians aren’t perfect, I get that, so I need to rely on the grace of God and others for the moments when I find certain millennial activities, shall we say…interesting.
But perhaps nothing is more associated with millennials than a single word. It’s a word that strikes fear in the hearts of previous generations, generations that fought against it with everything they had. Generations that saw firsthand what this word did to millions of people. Generations who seriously have no idea how millennials could embrace it. The word?
To people old enough to remember the Soviet Union and all the misery that came with it, socialism is the great enemy. It’s the poster child of restricted freedom, government overreach and corruption, and the loss of an increased standard of living. But to the millennial generation, socialism is this great unknown. It’s soothing call promises so many wonderful things, all free of charge! How could anyone be against ‘free’ college, ‘free’ healthcare, ‘free’ jobs, ‘free’ housing, and ‘free’ technology? The older generations are clearly racist, bigoted elitists who only want to keep young people from prospering and being happy, right?
The problem is that millennials don’t know history. They don’t have a clue about the Holocaust, much less the principles of limited government enshrined in the Constitution. With such a dearth of knowledge on the major stuff, it’s to be expected that young people are more concerned with Fortnite wins and Instagram selfies than free markets and religious freedom. Convenience trumps responsibility.
Millennials support socialism because they don’t have to look anyone in the eye and demand a check. Under a socialist system, the government steals from some people and gives that stuff to others. Those on the receiving end never know who got the raw end of the deal, so they don’t care. As long as they keep getting more free stuff, they’re fine. It’s similar to a situation where you are presented with a button. If you push the button you’ll get $1 million, but someone you don’t know will die. Would you push it? The movie “The Box” explored this scenario in 2009.
Socialism is pushing a button that gives you money while punishing people you’ll never meet. It’s cruel, selfish, immoral and should be obvious to every Christian. Unfortunately, the allure of faceless cash blinds the socialism-loving individual.
Just as socialists seek free stuff from faceless neighbors and countrymen, so too do some Christians seek cheap grace without looking into the face of the One writing the check.
In Christianity, there’s a similar temptation. It’s not for free healthcare or cheap housing, but for handouts from the Creator. Large segments of Christians have bought into the idea that God owes them health and wealth, and all they have to do is vote for that kind of God. Cheap grace is the sacred cow of so many believers. The ability to live without paying attention to holiness or righteousness is the ultimate goal of so many. Say a sinner’s prayer, shake a pastor’s hand, go to church every now and then, and you’re in. Everything is free. Nothing you can do will cause spiritual harm.
Jesus Christ is the face of salvation. Christians know how much it cost to bring forgiveness because we can look at him. He is the embodiment of the penalty that was charged for our freedom. If you try to get grace without looking Jesus in the face, you’ll find no grace and will walk away angry.
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Just as socialists seek free stuff from faceless neighbors and countrymen, so too do some Christians seek cheap grace without looking into the face of the One writing the check. Socialists are mad when they don’t get free stuff. They riot and scream and call free-markets evil. The denial of the things they want sends them into a frenzy.
Don’t view the grace of God in the same manner. You might not rage on the outside, but on the inside you’ll be just as bitter and violent that life hasn’t given you what you wanted.
Nothing is free. Everything comes with a cost.