We’ve all had that moment. You are at the store or standing in line at the bank. Your child, filled with excitement and wonder at the world, takes notice of the person behind you. “Momma, that person looks funny,” they exclaim or perhaps it is something even worse. It is something that sounds kinda racist and totally inappropriate. They, of course, meant nothing by it, but now you have to turn around and let the blood rush to your face as you try to apologize and keep from lashing out at your child.
ids are curious and have to be taught about the world. Their world expands in concentric circles from themselves, to their family, to their community, to their city, to the world. We must be careful and intentional stewards of this knowledge. Here are the facts as I see them:
- The Gospel of Jesus Christ is true above all else.
- Religious beliefs not claiming Christ as Lord and Savior are sadly misguided.
- People (even Christians) will sometimes sin and call it right.
- There are elements of different cultures that are neither right nor wrong.
It is difficult to strike a balance between these truths. We must be careful to make sure that our kids know how to handle this knowledge in relation to others. Here are a couple of extremes to avoid:
I’m Right and You’re Wrong and Stupid
he Bible tells us that one day every person will recognize that Jesus is Lord. People who don’t know Christ should rather be known as people who don’t yet know Christ. There should then be no feeling of superiority that you know Christ first. We are sinners saved by the grace of God. It is okay to pity others who don’t know Christ yet, but never in a belittling way. We ought to be filled with compassion for these people and it ought to burden us to share.
We are Probably Both Right
his is the most popular position in our culture today. It has probably even snuck into our own consciousness. There is a right and honest virtue in working together despite believing different things and treating one another respectfully but never at the cost of our own beliefs. Consider this: tolerance and love are not the same thing. If you tolerate things your child does, he or she will probably run out in the street and get hit by a car. If you love your child, however, you will discipline them to listen to what you have to say. This is not to say that we should discipline non-Christians. Rather, when we truly love someone as Jesus did, tolerance will no longer be an option. When we care about someone, we want what is best for them and that is always Jesus.
Striking a balance can be very difficult for adults, and is even more difficult to teach to children. Keep this in mind as you model for and teach your children: Love people and love the truth of God.