Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6 NIV I was driving in my car, heading home. I was listening to a Christian radio station and the discussion was one from Focus on the Family. I'll be honest - I'm not always in agreement with these people. Sometimes when I listen to them, I hear undercurrents of judgement and that bothers me. However, the topic of the day was hell and the lack of teaching about it to our children. The discussion took me back to my own childhood. I was raised in an Assembly of God church. I wish I had a nickle for every time I heard the preacher use a the "teenager car wreck" story as a call to salvation. You know the one...Timmy and Sally were driving home and they rounded the corner and were killed instantly. If that was you, are you SURE you'd go to heaven or would you burn with Timmy and Sally? Even if you repented last week, don't you want to make SURE you'll make heaven? My specific church was very much fire and brimstone - so much so - that I couldn't discern God. I look back now and I can see how scripture was twisted. Their hearts were in the right places - their ultimate goal was salvation for all..but I was in my late 20's before I truly heard and understood about grace. So, being the better parent than my parents ever thought of being (right..uh-huh..), the only message I have given my children has been about God's grace and mercy. I haven't taught them about hell. Guess what. Neither has our church. So - when my 13 year old son told us that he wasn't sure he believes in the "whole God thing", the discussion I heard on the radio played back into my head. God had once again revealed a truth to me that I was going to need...before I even knew I was going to need it. In actuality, my son had already decided he really didn't believe. I think he was trying to break it to us gently. In one of our many conversations, he asked why I cared so much about his beliefs. I told him exactly why. I told him what would happen if he didn't accept that Christ died for him and that through God's grace we are saved. We talked about hell. I let him see my tears and the depth of my concern for his soul. I shared as I felt led. We have a responsiblity to teach our children, and I had failed to give him all the facts. We must be diligent - because as uncomfortable as it is - our children need to know that they should fear God. God is mercy. God is grace. He is also jealous and has a temper. Our children are at risk when we shy away from the truth. Satan exists, hell is real and sin is ugly. I praise God for showing me where I was falling short, and for finally revealing why it was important that I learn so much about hell as a child. I don't believe he ever intended for that church to take the direction it did - but He wanted me in the pew - hearing the truth more than once so that I had the knowledge I would need. He used the circumstance to fulfill his purpose. How big is our God? As my grandmother says, "God sees on down the line child - his view is eternal".
LOL - DV - your comment posted in stereo.
This is probably a great example of a bad choice of words. In my mind, when I was writing the blog I was thinking how our sin angers God. From my own human perspective - can you get angry if you don't have a temper?
I'm no theologian....as you can quickly surmise.
This is a GREAT lesson. How did I miss it before today? When we teach Truth, we need to teach the Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth! (I heard those words before someplace) As it says in the Shema: [bible]Deut 6:4-10[/bible] Teach Truth to our children, all the time!
As to God's temper, I'm not sure if that is the right word. Anger, wrath? It's pretty clear you dpon't want God ticked off at you. I sure don't!
Alive in The Word
I too find this to be a most excellent blog. And I did have to chuckle.. they use the car wreck story here too. Only they say that the kids were on their way home from church after rejecting the gospel.. NOBODY is gonna get into their car after hearing that one!!
But you are so right my friend, too often we lean only towards grace and mercy and never mention hell, or we scream hell and forget to add grace and mercy. Like a well balanced diet we need both teachings in our lives to keep us healthy spiritually.