Don't Sugarcoat God with Your Kids
Have you ever tried to explain a hard truth from scripture to your child?
There are some hard truths in scripture, and because of that there are times we can not only explain some of those truths in overly watered down terms, but also omit entire concepts.
It's one thing to explain complex ideas simply to very small children, but it's another to minimize the nature of God. And we need to know the difference.
For example, when trying to explain the nature of God, we may try to sugarcoat his opposition to evil. We shy away from saying that God gets angry at evil. After all, if God is love, how can he then get angry? And since we basically try to cement the fact that God is love into our child’s heart, we choose to omit the fact that this love includes anger or even hatred.
I believe we do our children a great disservice with that. Because, God’s anger at evil is a very important part of his nature, just like the fact that light removes darkness is a very important part of the nature of light. And God is also light. (1 John 1:5) Light describes his love therefore perfectly.
But we don’t really want to say that to our kids, do we? We walk around the bushes when talking for example about Jesus cleansing the temple. Or him getting super frustrated and angry at the Pharisees for being such a bad example of God’s justice and holiness. We say things like: “Jesus disagreed with them.” Or “Jesus asked them to stop.” When, in reality, Jesus got quite ugly with them. Even angry.
I think the reason for this is that we are afraid that our children could get scared of such a God, who gets angry at people or even feels hatred for something. So, our approach is to sugarcoat, to protect their little minds from having to wrestle with that.
What about a different way to approach this? What if we approach the reality that Jesus and God the Father feel hatred toward evil and get angry with people the same way we would approach explaining the nature of light?
God is love. Light is light. When light encounters darkness, it does not tolerate the darkness. It does not say, “I don’t like you, darkness, but well, I am light, and light does no harm. So, let’s mingle somehow.” No! Light casts out darkness. Because by nature it can’t mingle with it and it will not budge one bit.
In the same way, God is love. And the love that God is does not mingle with evil. Sometimes that means that God approaches evil in a gentler way, knowing that it will budge easily. But, sometimes, God approaches evil with hatred and anger. Why? Because the evil has become so stubborn, that love must take a tough approach. Even though it seems ugly, it’s still pure love!
If we make Jesus a softy who never wanted to hurt anybody’s feelings, we do not present the real Jesus. If we make God someone who would rather pamper evil then to cast it out with force, if necessary, then we make God’s nature something that it’s not.
If we want to make disciples out of our children, then we must show them whom they really are following. If we want them to fall in love with God, we must help them to truly know Him.
Don’t sugarcoat the nature of love. It will produce confused seekers at best.