Christian Living

Spiritual Life

A Fickle Generation


For a long time I thought that word was a quaint, southern lady-like version of a cuss word. Not a real cuss word of course, but I remember hearing my grandmother whisper it when her rolls burned or when she was poked by a stick pin while laying out a new pattern on some material.

As I grew older, I learned it means to be likely to change. More specifically, it describes someone who isn’t constant or loyal in their affections.


Jesus described people this way. He said,

But to what shall I liken this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their companions, and saying: ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; We mourned to you, and you did not lament.’” (Matthew 11:16-17 NKJV) .

On the surface, this saying is hard to follow. But other translations shed some light on its meaning.

“How can I account for this generation? The people have been like spoiled children whining to their parents, ‘We wanted to skip rope, and you were always too tired; we wanted to talk, but you were always too busy...’” (Message).

“You’re like children playing games on the playground, yelling at their playmates, ‘You don’t like it when we want to play Wedding! And you don’t like it when we want to play Funeral! You will neither dance nor mourn.’” (Passion).

In other words, they’re fickle.

But Jesus wasn’t talking randomly. He wasn’t being rude in His criticism. He was making a point about how people inconsistently judge the things of God.

For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, “He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ But wisdom is justified by her children” (Matthew 11:18-19 NKJV).

The Message Translation says,

“Opinion polls don’t count for much, do they?”

Now we’ve hit the nail on the head. From Jesus’ generation to ours, human nature hasn’t changed. Opinion polls are worthless — they’re just opinions — beliefs and judgments often based on feelings. “Well, that can’t be of God because do you know what he did 20 years ago?” Or “I know God forgives, but He would never use a flamboyant personality like that guy.” Really? Are we being fickle?

God has given us His Word as a guide. It shows us the path of life. And more importantly, His Word shows us which results to be looking for — regardless of how we got there. John the Baptist was an unusual character who separated himself from society but he fulfilled his purpose and produced results (revealing the coming Messiah). Jesus was a complete opposite personality, in the center of everything, touching lepers, eating with tax collectors, and letting former prostitutes and demon-filled women serve His ministry. And undoubtedly, Jesus produced eternal results.

“Wisdom is justified by her children.”

So I encourage you today to be cautious of opinions — yours or others. Opinions are fickle. They’re often based on the emotion of the day instead of God’s Truth, which is only found in His Word. Instead of being whimsical, unsteady, or like a yo-yo (all synonyms for fickle), choose the opposite: aware, constant, faithful. In a generation bombarded by media-driven opinion polls, let the word fickle be your occasional slang and not a description of your behavior and judgments.

Copyright © 2021 Daphne Delay, used with permission.

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