The Power & Paradox of Perception: Jeremiah

Part I: Too young and inexperienced

One of the fascinating features of life is that we are all wired differently (I am sure you can think of a number of people that you’ve come across in life or who are currently in your life that you could do without. Let them be. They are there for a purpose – to make you a better person). That difference means that we have very different perspectives on life and issues of life. We are a complex amalgam of individual journeys, history, the influence of parents, peers, significant others, social settings and so on. This incredible cocktail of diverse influences shapes how we view ourselves relative to the world and how we view others.

The positive side to this is that our upbringing helps us to take note of our world, our environment, navigate and negotiate our way through this meandering river that we call life. However, this capacity to be able to see, discern and distinguish brings with it a series of problems. In this series we will look at men and women who have interesting perspectives on themselves and their world and how their worldview has impacted their words, actions and accomplishments.

In Jeremiah 1:1-19, we see the story of a young man. God called him to be a prophet to the nations. His response to God was interesting. He said he could not speak for God, and the reason for this, in his own words, was that he was too young.

Jeremiah’s response is typical of some of the attitudes that are so clearly seen in younger people in the eyes of the old; that they lack the experience, the insight and the knowledge to be able to do certain things. Yes, experience is a missing ingredient in one’s early years. However, there are times when too much is made of it. I have a sense that older under-achievers, masking jealousy and a desire not to be shown up, use it as a cloak to block the progress of young people.

I believe that Jeremiah was simply voicing the prejudice and oppressive perception of an older generation about himself. He feared rejection as a prophet because of his youth. Bible students will know that he accepted the call and God raised him up to be a prophetic voice to the nation.

I want to leave us with a number of questions. How do you see the younger generation? To the young, how do you see yourself? Do you see yourself as too small to make a difference; too insignificant to be a voice or too inexperienced to be an instrument of transformation?

Copyright Emmanuel Mbakwe 2013©

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