After reading Sally Lloyd-Jones’ post today on “Teaching Children the Bible,” I was inspired to conduct a little test. Lloyd-Jones said that whenever she goes to churches to speak to the children, she always ask them two questions:
First, How many people here sometimes think you have to be good for God to love you?
They tentatively raise their hands. I raise my hand along with them.
And second, How many people here sometimes think that if you aren’t good, God will stop loving you?
Almost without fail they raise their hands.
I was interested in how my older four children, ages 11, 9, 8, and 7 would answer. With a bit of excitement and trepidation, I asked the same two questions and instructed them to write their answers on a paper without looking at each other’s answers. The answer is either a yes or a no.
Question one: Do you think you have to be good for God to love you?
Two of my children answered yes and two answered no.
Question two: Do you think if you’re not good, God will stop loving you?
All four answered no.
My children’s answers are very enlightening to me. For years we try hard NOT to teach the Bible as a collection of moral stories. When taught as moral stories, it’s very natural for the children to measure themselves against the people in the Bible. If they’re not as brave or as good as David, then God must not love them. The subtle message of “God loves and accepts you based on your goodness” is inevitably passed on. The Bible isn’t about us, rather, it is about God. It’s about a good God and what He’s done for us, specifically to save us from our sins and destruction.
I realize only two of my children answered the two questions correctly while the other two only answered one correctly. I am encouraged to press on and keep emphasizing the importance of the gospel.