Godly Response: Two Things We Can Show Children in the Aftermath of Charlottesville

Charlottesville.

I’ve been drawn repeatedly to Paul’s opening words to the church in Corinth where he writes, “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.” ‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭1:20‬ ‭NIV‬‬

What Paul is getting at here is that God’s absolute faithfulness is made clear to us in the person of Jesus. Jesus is the fulfillment of every promise. In Christ, we hear God’s resounding, “Yes.” And it is Christ who made you and me His own as Paul encourages in Philippians 3:12, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.”

We haven’t arrived.

We haven’t obtained all this.

We press on.

As followers of Jesus, our goal is not to take what we have in Christ and coast. We press on. As I’ve been reading the stories of Charlottesville and seeing the ugliness of sin and brokenness on display, my heart is heavy. What can those of us called to lead kids and families (not only in the church but also in our own homes) do for the children in our care? How can we teach them to press on?

Two responses come to mind. The first response is to teach our children to pray. Every chance I get, I encourage my kids to pray about what is happening in their lives. Not feeling well? Pray. Worried about the start of school? Pray. Want to improve your skills? Pray. Struggling with feelings? Pray.

I love how John Piper puts this:

The more satisfied you are with yourself the way you are and with the world the way it is, the less you will pray. But the more you desire all the fullness of God, the more you desire to know the breadth and length and height and depth of the love of Christ, the more you desire to be strengthened with the power of the Holy Spirit according to the riches of God’s glory, the more you desire to know the hope of your calling and the riches of the glory of your inheritance, and the more you desire to be holy and pure and compassionate and patient and kind and tenderhearted and bold and fruitful, the more you will pray and the more passionately you will pray.

Talk to your children about Charlottesville, but don’t stop there. Talk to God with them. Do it every day and with passion and purpose. Let your kids know God is over all things.

The second response is to teach our children to love. My church has been teaching through the Gospel of John and this Sunday we looked at Jesus’ prayer in John 17. It is a prayer of unity – Jesus asks God to unify His people, to make them one. The unity of the people of God is a lighthouse of God’s love for all creation in the dark waters of sin and brokenness. Jesus says, “I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” ‭‭John‬ ‭17:23‬ ‭NIV‬‬

In order to teach our children to love, we must pursue unity. We must champion oneness. We must examine our lives and hearts and rid ourselves of sin. We must take a stand against injustice. We must stand against white supremacy and racism, for it is antithetical to the Gospel. We must love selflessly, righteously, unashamedly.

Listen to these words from Pastor and poet Nick Benoit:

So I will march,
in step with the God who trod this earth,
giving birth to the flame of hope.
For love—
that eternal torch—
can surely forge
a way through the scourge
of evil.

I don’t yet know the way,
but I’ll follow,
trusting this:
there will be a day
when the hate-filled hollows
of those mouths that stretch wide like open graves
will reckon with a God who blazes
with Love and also with Justice.

Yes and Amen.

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