We were given this handout about the Shorter Catechism in Sunday school. We are supposed to use these handouts to help our children understand the questions. As you can see, Sarah Beth likes to color them.
While she was coloring the other day, she asked me about this picture. What was the man doing with the baby? What was the oven-looking thing? (She didn't put it that way.) I didn't know what to tell her. Should I tell her the truth, that the man is going to burn the baby in the fire in order to please his false god? That seems a bit much for a four year old. Or should I "fudge" it just a little bit? Honestly, I'm not exactly sure what I told her, but it wasn't the whole truth, although I did include the fact that some people don't worship God. (She's fascinated by that. "Why don't they?" she keeps asking.)
Oh, I want to protect my children. I want to keep their childish innocence intact and not let it be disrupted by the evil things of this world. There are stores that I stay away from at Halloween because of the evil displays they have; I don't want my children exposed to such things.
But this world is filled with evil. The intents of my heart are oftentimes evil. At what point are children old enough? For some things, I know that I am not old enough; I don't want to see those things or be exposed to them.
Yet, there is evil in our world. Like it or not, we are all exposed to it. Even the Bible stories that we teach our children have disturbing parts to them. We like to use the story of Noah's ark as a delightful children's story because of the animals. But it's not a delightful story. God destroyed the whole world and everyone in it except for the select few (the chosen) on the ark. The whole world...that's not a nice image, but it's true.
What about Jonah and the whale? My children love that story. But it's not a great "children's" story, either, as Jonah is eaten by a whale. Alive! And God planned to destroy the city of Nineveh, killing everyone there, if they didn't repent. Children's story?
I know that we cannot and should not protect our children from every bad thing in our world. But what would you say to your child if he asked you about that picture?