Why You Don’t Understand Yourself

Parents today don’t understand their kids. Way back in the day, my parents didn’t understand me. But that was okay, because I didn’t understand them either.

So parents have always not understood their children. But today we are at a cultural crossroads, because millennials don’t understand themselves.

And I can tell you why. Allow me to take you higher so you can see the big picture.

In the Dark Ages, life was run by superstition. Many knew that superstition was really stupid-stition, but nevertheless humanity at large was stuck right there.

Then came the Renaissance, the revival of learning. Because there was a revival of learning, we became enlightened; it was the Enlightenment. And one famous result of the Enlightenment was the scientific method. In short, we rediscovered truth!

And what a discovery it was! For truth led us all the way to the moon. (Those of you wearing tin hats while reading this, don’t even go there.)

But after that, after we got to the moon and back with science, at the end of the 1960s we discovered that scientific truth was meaningless when separated from spiritual truth. The world at large didn’t realize this, of course, but the aftermath of this period shows it clearly.

We were modern but meaningless. Thus, postmodernism arrived. Since scientific truth alone doesn’t satisfy, let's deconstruct everything we erected with truth.

We don’t want to go back to superstition—though maybe we want to be spiritualists—but we have to get away from absolute truth, because it didn’t end up making us live any longer than before.

So we aren’t modern anymore, because modernism didn’t give us meaning. We are beyond modern. We are postmodern, because—since truth separate from God didn’t satisfy us—we didn’t really need truth, trust, grand theories or ideologies anyway.

You did. And you do.


They understand themselves because they understand Him.

This is why millennials (and the generations following) don’t understand themselves. Why they are searching, aching for self-discovery and self-transformation. They don’t see how the pendulum swung in a rejection of truth, when it was not truth's defect at all. The problem was not in the scientific method. The problem was in science separated from scripture, and the impotence of truth separated from God.

Unfortunately, this postmodern derision of truth has flowed over into Christianity. Too many Christians favor private interpretations and individual truths. That started with a lack of trust in God’s preserved word, and now postmodern Christians feel they have the liberty to live without a real authority.

That is why this year's LFF Certainty Conference is so important for our developing leaders. This is why LFBI's Manuscript Evidence course is so key. By knowing the history and heritage of the Bible, we are able to understand that God has preserved his word for use as our absolute and final authority. And when God’s truths are active and authoritative in the lives of believers, they have no doubt as to who they are. They understand themselves because they understand Him.

Attend the Certainty Conference live or online and reattach what is true to the One who is the Truth.

Alan Shelby is the senior pastor of Harvest Baptist Church in Blue Springs, MO and the dean of LFBI. In this post, he outlines why today’s young people (and, therefore, many young Christians) are in a neverending state of self-searching and dissatisfaction.