In a recent interview, Sally Lloyd Jones, author of the Jesus Storybook Bible, offered such simple but profound advice on giving hope to children.
Here is a just a portion of what she said:
Children look to us for everything. But in all that we’ve given children, have we forgotten to give them hope? Have we left them in despair -- looking at what they should do but don't? Looking at who they should be but aren’t? How do we give hope to children? When we take the focus off them and put it back on God where it belongs. They don’t need to be told to try harder, believe more, do it better. That just leaves them in despair. We need a Rescuer.
I know that many parents struggle with how to talk to their kids about their need for a Rescuer. On so many occasions, I’ve had conversations with parents who ask, “How can I talk to my children about their weaknesses and sin? It doesn’t feel right. I want my children to feel good about themselves.”
Let us not forget that kids have an innate understanding, a God- given conscience, when they’ve done something wrong. And speaking to our kids about their weaknesses and sin is actually an opportunity to give them hope. Yes, hope! Because our sin points us to our only hope—the Rescuer we’ve been given in Jesus Christ. (Rom. 6:17–18)
Sin can be explained in several ways, but a few ways that resonate with our children include: sin is breaking God’s law, choosing our way over God’s way, or making something or someone more important than God. It is, in essence, failing to love the Lord and love our neighbor with all of our heart. (Matt 22:36-40) Which, by the way, we all do.
When we teach our children what sin is, it is equally important that we teach them that not only does sin always lead to our own sadness, but sin also deeply grieves the heart of God.
But then! We must offer our children the very good news that because of Jesus, they are unconditionally forgiven, accepted, and loved. And that when they confess their sin, God casts it into the depths of the sea, to be remembered no more! (Micah 7:19)
So when we teach our kids how to recognize and confess sin in their life, we must always finish with a drenching of grace.
Yes, sinful is who we are in the flesh- in our fallen nature.
And because of our fallen nature we make choices that are not in line with who God created us to be. Even in our finest moments, our actions, if not our motives, are tainted (Gen. 6:5).
Who we are in Jesus Christ is wholeheartedly loved and accepted children of God.
We can’t out-sin God’s love! (Romans 8:39)
To give our children hope we have to remember how the story ends.
It ends with “You have a Rescuer who loves you and gave His life for you. And when you are in Christ, God looks at you and sees only the perfection of His Son covering you.”
Because of Jesus, we are forgiven and free. And in that good news, our hope is anchored.
All is grace,