If I had to name one of the most difficult issues in parenting, it would have to be explaining to children the unfairness of the world. Everything from “why did grandma have to die?” to “why do some people have no place to live?” to “why do bad people get away with doing bad things?” These questions often leave us as parents struggling for words, especially when we OURSELVES often don’t understand the “why” to life’s difficult questions. Often the deeper issue lies in the idea of what people “deserve” or what we THINK they “deserve.”
This week we will be focusing on the virtue/life application “HUMILITY” – putting others first by giving up what we think we deserve. Note that it says “what we THINK we deserve.” And there lies the crux of the thing. It is amazing to me that children believe in their entitlement from early on even before they have the ability to articulate the idea. A toddler takes a toy from another and the victim starts crying. Each child has the belief that the toy belongs to HIM/HER – he/she DESERVES it. Is entitled to it. Should have it. And often we continue on through our lives, subtly or overtly angry, saddened, frustrated at the lack of apparent justice in this world. I don’t deserve to lose my job. I don’t deserve this illness. I don’t deserve to be so mistreated by my spouse. And the moral outrage that we feel seems so RIGHT. So understandable. And it is. Because it is just one more example of how we have been made in the image of our Heavenly Father. For perfect community with Him and with each other. For justice.
So back to our kids. Where do we begin when they come to us with those super tough, “oh I wish you hadn’t asked me that” questions? I believe we begin with the cross. With our sin. Our messiness. And what the Bible says we truly deserve. Oh you don’t have to talk about hell and fire and furnaces and stuff. Just explain that sin means separation from God. And that THAT is the worst thing EVER. And someone had to pay for the bad things we do. And SOMEONE did. And, while we are talking about things we don’t DESERVE, let’s talk about what Jesus DID deserve. Yet what He set aside to give us that which we could never obtain, earn, or win. Communion with God. A place in His forever family.
As your kids learn this week about the humility Christ showed in His willingness to die and submit to the ULTIMATE injustice, pray that they begin to build the foundation of a life so focused on Jesus, the painful and frustrating things of this world become simply a hazy background.
Sun Grove Children’s Ministry