One morning my five year old, Jude, was sitting at the table and asked me a question. This is not unusual, but this particular morning the question was of eternal significance. He asked me why one of our relatives was living in sin. Now his question was of course more casually and specifically stated, but ultimately he wanted to know why someone he loved and looked up to was allowed to live in what he knew to be sin. I knew I could not cover up the situation or try to ignore the question. My son wanted to know the truth, so I gave it to him. My answer was simple; this family member didn’t know Jesus and therefore does not have a heart to follow God’s laws. Tears began to take shape in Jude’s eyes; he knew that meant someone in his family didn’t know Jesus.
Preach the Gospel
I will be the first to admit that I am far from being an expert when it comes to parenting. Yet, in the few short years that God has blessed me with being a mother I have strived to preach his gospel daily in the lives of my children. Some days this is showing them how much of a sinner I really am and how gracious God really is. Other days, it is speaking His truth into the lies and sins of this world. But always, the gospel is preached.
Our children need the gospel. Our Children need Jesus. Our children need the truth of Scripture and they can handle it. This world minimizes sin, minimizes God, rejects Jesus and teaches our children lies. They are defenseless without the gospel. The Bible can answer all of their questions. Jesus can heal every one of their hurts. As parents we are not to shy away from the truth of scripture, but to saturate our children in it.
The Answer is Jesus
My kids ask a lot of questions and with the truth of scripture I can answer most of them fairly easy. As a Christian parent, I get to have that great beautiful name of Jesus as my go to:
Why is it snowing again mommy? Jesus made it snow. How did I get in your belly mommy? Jesus put you there. Why? Because He said it was time for you to have life. Why? Because He is God and sovereign over all, including you.
One of the biggest things I want to impress upon my children is that Jesus is Lord and God is big. When they ask these questions and the answer always deals with the greatness of God, he gets the glory. Snow falls for a number of scientific reasons that God is displayed in, but ultimately my five year old needs to know that God created the weather and He is in control of it (Matthew 8:26-27). God is always the main point.
After questions have been answered and my children are joyfully playing, sin happens. Big brother’s transformer decides to use little brother’s head as a landing strip. Big brother’s arm gets in the way of kicking practice. Outbursts of rage can no longer be contained as the world crumbles because Legos must be put away before snacks. This is where we deal with sin. This is where Jesus is Lord. My kids are sinners, and they know that. My kids need a Savior, and they know that. My kids are forgiven by the blood of Christ and they know that. It is not unloving to tell my children the truth that they are dead in their sins (Ephesians 2:1), as long I give them the hope of forgiveness in Christ.
In times of sin, I ask the questions and train my boys in knowing the answers:
Did you hit your brother? Yes. What is that called? Sin. Who did you sin against first? God. Why did you sin? Because I have a broken heart. Can you fix your broken heart? No. Then who can? Jesus. Does Jesus love you, even though you sinned? Yes. What has Jesus done? Died on the cross to forgive my sin. And when you know and love and trust Jesus, where do you go? To heaven to be with Jesus forever.
Of course there is more to dealing with sin than a Q&A with your child, but the goal in all of it is to point our children to their need for Jesus. He is what they need and he is all they need.
Know the Truth
Our children’s biggest problem is not their social status, emotional status, or GPA. Our children’s biggest problem is their sin against the just and holy God Almighty. Give them Jesus. Give them hope. Learn to speak the gospel in everything. Correct them in a spirit of gentleness (Galatians 6:1), and help to restore them to Christ.
God has blessed us with children (Psalm 127:3). But he has not left us without instructions on how to raise them. He first tells us to love Him with all our souls and might. He tells us to write that on our hearts first (Deuteronomy 6:4-6). So parents, strive after God. Seek Jesus. Get to know him well. Love Christ more. Be joyful and rejoice in God. Then out of your love for God, out of your understanding of forgiveness in Christ, out of your joy for the Lord give your children the truth (John 14:6).
“You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”
– Deuteronomy 6:7