Posts Tagged ‘children’

Children Want to Know!

        thumbnail Recently I was asked about the subject of explaining God and heaven to children. It’s an excellent question because it exemplifies how our hearts should be towards those who do not have a relationship with our creator. When we are in a right relationship with God and we can see what that relationship produces in our own lives, we naturally want others to share in our new found freedom. How do we share our faith? What transpires that actually has an effect on another human being?

         The process of leading others to an understanding of salvation is a partnership. It’s a partnership between each of us and God. We have the responsibility to bear witness to others as to what God has done for us and the supernatural part of drawing someone to a saving grace belongs to God. Our part is simply explaining what God has done for us. The interesting part of the question regarding children is that Jesus said “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 18:3)  It takes childlike faith to believe. Not one person can enter into a relationship with God by logic, reason or mental assent. It’s truly a supernatural transformation. That’s why it is so hard for some to believe.

          Someone said that each generation will be judged by the spirituality of the next. We should therefore be concerned about the spiritual development of the next generation. So the question of explaining God to our children is all important. As the father of three grown children I can only speak from my own experience. All three have grown up in the saving knowledge of Jesus and now it is their turn to pass it along to our grandchildren. Teaching has its place but teaching alone is not enough. There is a saying in Christian circles that “Christianity is caught, not taught”. Children tend to evaluate parents actions more than their words, so what we model to our children has a tendency to impact their belief system. The old parental adage “do as I say not as I do” isn’t based upon sound doctrine and children can see through the hypocrisy.

          Another important analogy about child rearing is this. In the beginning it’s a dictatorship but as they grow you had better gradually grow into a democracy. Don’t misunderstand, parents must remain responsible for their offspring until they are of legal age but to develop into mature people children must gradually be given some freedom. This may even include allowing them to make an occasional mistake. Some times our mistakes teach us more than all the lectures in the world.

          Last but not least, we must be willing to admit our mistakes to our children. Sometimes this may even require an apology from us for misjudging their intentions or for an overreaction on our part. This may be a bitter pill for some parents to swallow but it is an important part of letting a child know that they are valued and respected. What does all of this have to do with explaining God to children? Just this, we all struggle in this life and we are all imperfect. Confession and reconciliation are good for the soul. Loving others as yourself requires our open honesty and transparency. If we show others, especially our children, how to cope with the difficulties presented us in this imperfect life, just maybe it will become contagious.