Why do the "good times" sought by young people often turn sour?
I JUST want to have fun like all the other kids. I want to be free. I want to experience life and not have to be tied down by a dull job and a dull marriage." Sound familiar? It ought to. For a whole generation millions of teenagers and young 20s have wanted fun and fulfillment. And they want it NOW and they each want it for ME. A genuine cultural revolution has been in the making. In the last 20 years a literal flood of books has appeared on understanding and improving the self We have been abruptly exposed to greater acceptance of sexuality both in and out of marriage, a new preoccupation with the body and physical fitness and, above all; to a frantic search for the "good life," ripe with leisure, new experiences, fun and games. Where has it all been leading?
The "now generation" has fallen far short of achieving genuine happiness and self-fulfillment. Life-experiments have not been self-fulfilling. Many are shocked to find themselves with a broken marriage, a ruined career or simply a depressed state of mind. For teenagers, the "now generation" philosophy has produced booming rates of suicide, new venereal diseases, raging alcohol and drug abuse. Millions of unmarried teenage girls become pregnant. Instead of rearing children they conceive, hundreds of thousands of these "me generation" girls allow life to be snuffed out by abortion! With unremitting emphasis on fun and on self-fulfillment, the "now" or "me generation" philosophically presupposes that economic well-being is virtually a — right, to be guaranteed by the government. This assumption has run into trouble — even in societies of relative abundance. According to the 1980 U.S. census, there are 1.8 million children in America alone who have no adult at home after school. And there are millions of "latchkey" children worldwide. Why? Well, the story goes, the mothers need to work. Or the family "needs" to have a bigger income so they can have the "good life." Maybe the woman has to work because she is divorced. Or, perhaps, her husband deserted her. Again, WHY? Because in the vast majority of divorce cases one or both parties to the marriage are trying to "get" all they can, and "give" as little as possible. That certainly has been my experience as one involved in hundreds of marriage counseling's over the past 30 years! And desertion by the husband and father is an even more obvious example of total selfishness and thoughtlessness. A U.S. congressional report showed that 79 percent of divorced fathers nationwide do NOT support their own children. Pure selfishness in most cases. In another area where children are seriously affected, a shocking article from the April 1983 Ladies Home journal reports the horrifying facts regarding child pornography. The article quotes Bruce Ritter, founder of New York City's Covenant House, a nonprofit youth shelter: "This sickness exists," he states, "because a small segment of society wants it, another segment profits by it, and the rest aren't doing anything about it." It's hard to believe that that kind of mind exists! But it does. And, please, let's not ASSUME that all of the rapists, robbers, drug addicts, drug dealers, pornographers, child pornographers, adulterers, wife beaters, child abusers and homosexuals are out on some ill-defined fringe of society!
Emphasis on Self
The "me generation" concentrates so sharply on personal desires that instead of achieving the intimate relationships they yearn for, they grow further apart from others. In focusing on their own needs, they discover that their inner journey brings loneliness and depression. They want to expand their lives, but the strategy they use constricts them — drawing them inward toward the ever — narrowing, closed off "ME." Too many are preoccupied with their inner psychological needs. They think of self as a vast assemblage of "needs" — no matter how infantile or selfish. Society is going to come apart at the seams unless some fundamental changes are made in today's patterns of thinking and patterns of living. There was a time in Britain, America and Western Europe when marriage usually meant till death do us part. People weren't perfect and neither were marriages. But, a deep sense of responsibility was abroad in our lands. A man's word meant something. The family was a strong unit of society. Parents felt responsible for their children. People saved up their money before buying a car, a washing machine or other expensive items. Most folks tried to live within their means. WHY? You find the answers when you read early American history, and the history of the British nations of the period. You find a great many references to "the fear of God," to "Divine providence," and to a sense of purpose in building nations, or in "winning the West." But in our present-day selfish, hedonistic society, any real sense of purpose seems to have vanished from most people's lives. People don't know why they are, what life is supposed to be all about or where they are going.
The Source that Reveals Life's Purpose
Though most moderns seem unaware of it, there is a great manual for human survival. It is an instruction book sent from the Designer of the human mind and body to tell us how to live. It is called the Holy Bible. In this Book of books, your Creator states, "Where there is no VISION, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he" (Prov. 29:18). The correct vision, the true understanding of why we are here and where we are headed, is vitally important to a genuinely happy and balanced life. But, cut off from the Creator, most men have no idea of that great purpose. They are concerned only with "eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die." With this shallow "me generation" philosophy, they proceed to take, get and grab at happiness, exploiting their fellow human beings in the process. Rather than trying to build their marriages with outflowing love, kindness, patience and service, they seek desperately to "get" happiness from him or her — and then look on in wonderment when the agony of separation or divorce occurs. Not knowing the sincere JOY of serving one another, they try to dull the pain of their emptiness and frustration by intemperate use of liquor, by various other drugs or perhaps by illicit or "kinky" sex. Having no purpose in life and finally realizing that the deep and abiding happiness they are searching for is NEVER going to be found — at least not where they are looking — they may ultimately "freak out" on drugs or finally kill themselves!
The Abundant Life
Some 2,000 years ago, a great Being from another place, another time, descended through outer space and came to settle, for a little while, on planet Earth. This majestic Being emptied himself of the glory and power he had shared from eternity with God. His name was Jesus, the son of God. He said, "I am the WAY, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6). He said, "I have kept my Father's commandments" (John 15:10). And again, "My yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Matt. 11:30). This inspired Son of God did indeed keep his Father's commandments and find that his Father's "yoke" was easy. Understanding and truly following the Ten Commandments — the great "law of liberty" (Jas. 2:12) — is indeed a happy way of life. Knowing this, Jesus stated, "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more ABUNDANTLY" (John 10:10). If you follow that way, you will be deeply rewarded not only by your own happiness and inner peace, but by the joy, the appreciation and the returning love you will arouse in others around you. For those who persist in following the "get and grab" philosophy of the "now generation," God says, "The way of transgressors is hard" (Prov. 13:15). Although they don't yet know it, their vain, selfish hedonistic society is soon coming to a sudden END when God intervenes in world affairs. "And... there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.... And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the [nations original Greek text], that they. should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth" (Rev. 11:15, 18). A wonderful world tomorrow is coming! If you begin to get the picture and want answers in detail that make sense, write today for our free booklet explaining the WAY of life described in this article. Read our free copy of The Ten Commandments. If you want to go even deeper, write for the Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course. It is a study of the Bible, the prophetic events that lie ahead and how you ought to be living in preparation for these momentous times. This remarkable Correspondence Course is free of charge to you — we only ask that you set yourself to study it regularly with your own Bible. Thank God! Very soon, the "now generation" philosophy will be "gone with the wind" — replaced by a generation both understanding and experiencing the awesome PURPOSE being worked out here below!