Sunday, April 13, 2014

Not for sissies: On teaching violent love to children

"Mommy, it's so sad."
"Yes, it is sad honey. And it hurt really bad, too. But He did it because He loves us."

I think, a few kids ago, this kind of conversation with children might have been impossible for me. I probably would have been the one sitting quietly with a kid on my lap, letting daddy talk about the hard stuff, while I sat there wishing I could shield my babies from all of this.

(Read more:  Is Easter too violent for kids?)

What changed?
Well, Aggie got sick. And I tasted some real suffering. I held her, blue-lipped. And I considered the possibility of a sister, left without a sister. I considered myself, standing at a graveside, knowing in my bones that there is something horribly, violently wrong with this world.

Violence has no place around my babies.
Nor does death.
Nor does sin.
And yet, I sin against them, and they sin against each other, every day.

We live in a broken world.

Yet the broken God-man... He gives us hope.

So we talk about Him. We talk about His great love for us, which we see in His healing and His teaching, but most of all, we see in His death on the cross.

Jesus is not just like us. 
He loves us with a fierce love. 
A violent love.
He loves us to death.

But we preach Jesus crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and folly to the Gentiles. 1 Cor 1:23

One morning, my three-year-old took the cross off the table.
Then, he laid on the kitchen floor with Jesus, like this:

I tried to put the cross away.

"I want Jesus!" he protested. 

May you, too, find rest 
in the shadow of His cross today.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, 
that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.  
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
 but in order that the world might be saved through him. 
John 3:16-17

Holy Week Recommended Reading:
Hunger Games and the Happy Exchange
He's Still Working

(originally published 4/16/12)


  1. Love the picture of your three old and him saying he wanted Jesus. Amen--Me too.

    1. Me too, Cathy. His words took my breath away.

      Come, Lord Jesus.

  2. I'm learning more from my 3 year old than I'm teaching him I think. After prayer last night he wanted to add another: "Dear Jesus, thank You for making it so we don't have to die anymore. Amen." Simple as that.

    1. That is so sweet!
      It just amazes me sometimes.. they really just GET IT. To see God's work in a little one is incredible. :)


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