I’ve been thinking a lot about sharing Jesus with little kids, mostly because there’s a really cute one sprinting around our home. It’s a strange thing to try and share a message about sin, God’s love, and how He expressed it in Jesus to a child that’s still struggling with the potty and fighting bedtime.
I started some reading on this a few weeks ago and have been praying daily for Maura. Below are a few things that I’ve learned to sort of focus in on, and that I am trying to find ways to implement.
- Teach them about God’s love: They need to know from an early age how He cares for them. Maura already understands that God created all the good things we enjoy. That’s a start.
- Teach them about their sin: They won’t know their need for Jesus if they don’t think there’s anything wrong with them. As much as I love my daughter and as much as our culture wants us to believe that everything is okay, she has to understand that it isn’t. That her lies and disobedience that we sometimes think are funny really aren’t.
- Share with then what Jesus did and what it means for them: It’s pretty wicked to point out someone’s fault and not point them to the solution. That’s Jesus, and they need to know it.
- Keep it on their level, but don’t water it down: This is tough, and while we are making strides, I have no idea how to do this well. I just know that watering down the Gospel robs it of its power, and that talking about nails impaling hands and feet and a person hanging naked on a criminal’s cross is a bit harsh for a 4 year old.
- Be repetitive: If there’s any way we’ve learned to teach Maura, it’s through repetition. She picks up on things quickly, but the more she hears it, the more it sinks in, and the more she questions it and learns more.
- Work it into daily life: It’s tempting to try and make some detailed plan for this, and maybe that works for you. But for me, I’m learning that working it into the discussions we are already having and things we are already doing works best for us.
- Balance discipline and instruction: This article taught me this part, and it kind of goes along with some of the others. But if we lack discipline, they don’t learn the depth of their wrongs. If we lack loving instruction, then they can feel unloved and bitter. Finding the balance isn’t easy, but knowing that it needs to exist is a good first step. Tim Challies wrote of discipline:
The goal of discipline is not to display your displeasure with your children, nor is it to keep them from embarrassing you in the the future. In light of the goal of parenting, discipline is meant to lovingly help your children see themselves as sinners before a holy God in need of a Savior.
and of instruction, he wrote:
“To instruct your children, you must teach them, you must explain what is right, you must demonstrate how they are to live. And while it is good to teach them all kinds of knowledge and life skills, you must also teach them the deep spiritual truths that can save their souls”
I hope this helps!