Gen Z, Unearth the True Essence of Love: A Gospel Guide

For Gen Z, the call to love our neighbors, as guided by the teachings of Jesus, can be a tricky path to tread. This might be attributed to the simple fact that, unlike previous generations, we don’t necessarily know our neighbors, thanks to our reliance on technology for just about everything.

But there’s a bigger beast to battle. The very definition of ‘love’ seems to have undergone a transformation. In Gen Z’s lexicon, love is equated to acceptance, which means refraining from any criticism of someone’s identity or actions.

But my dear Gen Z compatriots, we mustn’t let the cultural currents dictate our understanding of love. Let’s turn instead to the gospel for guidance. Here are three valuable lessons it teaches us about loving others.

  1. Illuminate your surroundings with your faith. It’s a tough world out there where even disagreement is viewed as hatred, and some Christian beliefs are labeled toxic. Even a simple act of praying for someone might be twisted as a hate crime. How then, you may wonder, do we love our neighbors?

The easy way out seems to be to stay silent, avoid ruffling any feathers, and hold on to our faith secretly without defending it when it’s attacked. The fear of standing out might make us feel that blending in with the world and disregarding clear directives from the Scripture is the more ‘loving’ response.

However, let’s take heart from the Scriptures, look towards Christ, and take inspiration from those who’ve walked this path before us. Let’s not dim our light (Matt. 5:14–16), but shine brightly, striving to honor our Father rather than seeking to please the world.

We might face hostility, but, by God’s grace, our testament could lead others to Christ. There might be immense pressure around us, but there are also those silently seeking God and His truth in a world advocating self-reliance. Your everyday life can be a beacon of faith for these seekers, and that’s truly the most loving act.

  1. Embrace sacrifice, and shun selfishness. The lure of selfishness isn’t unique to Gen Z, but it’s so embedded in our lives that we often overlook it. Competition is rife, and the quest for success often overshadows everything else. So, we take up extracurricular activities, do voluntary work, and create YouTube channels, all with the hopes of getting ahead.

In this case, our focus drifts away from serving others to serving ourselves, turning our neighbors into stepping stones for our progress. However, the gospel offers a radical perspective, urging us to put others before us (John 15:13). True love means sacrificing our comforts, time, and resources to assist those around us.

  1. Step down from the pedestal. The ‘main character energy’ concept is gaining traction in the social media vocabulary, wherein individuals cast themselves as the protagonist of their life stories. Everyone else is relegated to a supporting role, with their happiness playing second fiddle to ours.

This mindset fosters an inability to accept criticism or handle guilt. The gospel offers a remedy to this predicament by urging us to place Jesus at the center of our lives, replacing the pedestal we’ve built for ourselves. With Jesus at the helm, we find true freedom, joy, and the gracious mandate to love others.

As Gen Z Christians, we need to stay vigilant about our interactions with others. The allure of technology and the trend of cancel culture can influence our perception of love and our relationship with our neighbors.

We must steer clear of living for the applause of others, using people for selfish gains, or overlooking them entirely. Let’s embrace Jesus’ call to love our neighbors as we love ourselves, rather than succumbing to societal pressures. It’s a journey worth taking, not just for us, but for the world we inhabit and the generations to follow.