How I Talked to My Daughter about Charleston

Charleston Rearview Mirror

“What happened?” she asked.

My 10 year old daughter and I were in the car, setting out on a daddy-daughter date, and the radio host mentioned the unspeakable tragedy in Charleston.

“What happened?” she asked.

Trust me, friends, I do not have all the answers—or even some answers—but here’s what I shared with my daughter:

 
What happened in Charleston, where a man shot and killed nine people inside a local church, is an unspeakable tragedy reminding us of four things.

 

Reminder 1: Sin is real.

Our world is filled with sin. We do not live in a fairy-tale, but a world torn apart by sin. Sin is real. Sin exists. Sin affects every person, including me, and sinful people sin.

 

Reminder 2: We need Jesus.

Sin is ugly—it rips us from God even as it rips others apart. This is why we need Jesus. Perfect Savior. Sovereign King.

 

Reminder 3: We face a diabolical enemy.

The Bible speaks clearly about Satan and describes Satan as a scheming, diabolical enemy waging war against God and those who follow Christ.

 

Reminder 4: This is not our home.

We have an eternal home. The earth in its current state is not that home. And the tragedy faced in Charleston brings tears to our eyes as we see the loss and feel the grief. This is why I love John’s words in Revelation 21:4, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, sadness, crying, or pain. All the old ways are gone.” (ICB). And then at the end of Revelation 22: “Jesus is the One who says that these things are true. Now he says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” (ICB)

Yes. Come. Lord. Jesus.

 
That was it.

 
Later in the day, I recapped the conversation with my wife Noel, and I landed on something critical. One of my greatest concerns for my children is the expression of the kingdom of God that my wife and I pass along to them through the faith community we belong to.

My desire is for my children to see, hear, and learn from a faith community as diverse as God’s kingdom.

The issue of race in the church cannot be ignored. It is painful to watch—it brings tears to my eyes, and not only because I have faced racism personally.

Friends, I don’t know how to fix this. But I weep for our nation in these moments and pray for our friends in Charleston.
 

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