Summer Snippet 8: Should we tell kids to love God?
This summer my son and I are teaching a class of first graders on Sunday mornings. One recent week, I kept hearing adults telling children to love God and obey Him.
Why did that bother me?
Our love for God can only come from an understanding of His love for us. There are a plethora of blended families in our nation, and I don’t think many parents are introducing their children to a step-mom or step-dad and saying, “We are a family now. You need to love your new step-parent.” Most of us can understand such an expectation to be unreasonable. A child can’t love a step-parent until the child understands the step-parent is a safe person who loves them.
I wonder if we do that to kids regarding God.
“Love God and obey Him,” we say! True, but I think all too often we start there, and we have it backwards. It took years to begin to understand what God did for me…and every person on the globe. I was DEAD in my sin. I could do absolutely NOTHING to save myself. And God sent His ONLY Son DIE for my sins so I would not have to pay the penalty myself.
And every time I get it just a little bit more, I love God just a little bit more. The FIRST step for children and us adults is to learn how much God loves each of us. Once we understand, we will love and obey God because we love Him back, not because we are told.
We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19
Picture Explanation: When you are in your twenties, you attend a lot of weddings, sometimes as a bridesmaid. You take your boyfriend with you and go have lots of fun all dressed up.
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