Tuesday, August 5, 2008

"He needs Jesus"

"Yuck, that is very evil, we don't want to look at that." I said to Hunter in subtle disgust referring to a quite graphic movie poster of the "Mummy" that was hanging on the windows of the Taekwondo school.

To which Hunter replied, "He needs Jesus."

"Yes, he does" I smiled. I remember saying that about some other evil figure we had encountered not too long ago, and apparently it stuck.

I've been "here a little, and there a little" talking to Hunter about the horridness of evil and the nobility of good. I can't shelter Hunter from all the wickedness in the world, and teaching him how to confront evil will do him far more good than pretending that it doesn't exist.

When it crosses our path, I point out evil music, evil figures, and evil acts. I have in many ways had to do this out of necessity, as so much evil is no longer hidden in the darkness but proclaimed to the whole world on billboards, grocery store checkout lines, and restaurant radio stations. Looking the other way will do no good. If I don't teach Hunter how to think about these sorts of things (the way God does, with disgust and condemnation), then someone else will.

Hunter knows that ghosts, monsters, and demonic-looking figures are evil, not fun and cute. He knows that certain music is unpleasant, and other music is evil, singing about people sinning and doing things that God hates. Hunter knows that God hates sin, and is familiar with the way God has dealt with sin in the past. These messages are in no way over-bearing, and I don't go around looking for evil to teach him about. But when we come across something that is evil, I tell him that it is indeed evil, and not something to be fond of.

Most people think that their three-year-olds are too young to understand this. To avoid this type of confrontation, waiting until they're older to discuss it (or perhaps thinking that they will figure it out on their own) will produce undesirable results. At three years old, a child will willingly throw away an evil toy that was given too him, hide his eyes from an obscene movie poster, or walk away from a wicked movie. At this age they are so young, tender, and open, and if we do not teach them how to respond to the evil they will confront, someone else will. An eight-year-old is not so easy to teach as a two-year-old. Equip them young, that they may be able to "resist the devil" (James 4:7) and "Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong." (1 Cor. 16:13)

I remember my brother-in-law, telling of a time when he was five years old, as he was listening to books read at story time at the library with his three-year-old sister, when the librarian picked up a book about witches he abruptly stood up, grabbed his little sister's hand and informed the entire room that he would not be staying for that evil book. Children are able to understand and discern much earlier than we give them credit for, and they need to be equipped.

We must remember that God said that his people are destroyed, not by lack of protection, but by lack of knowledge. "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge" (Hosea 4:6). We certainly need to protect our children, and keep evil forces away from their tender souls. One certainly does not teach a child how to swim by throwing him in shark-infested water. But if we keep our children in the "greenhouse", safe from the world about them and innocent of the "wiles of the devil", they will certainly drown when confronted with the evil one, who cometh only "to steal, and to kill, and to destroy".

Hollywood, the media, and the culture is anxiously waiting to ensnare your child's soul to the occult, and all forms of corruption, at the earliest possible age. By keeping your child at home and taking responsibility for your own offspring, you have a the incredible opportunity to shape the way your child thinks about the world. A child needs to be protected AND equipped. When they look at a poster of a disgusting, scary Mummy, will they respond in fear, respond in enthusiasm ("I wanna see that!"), or respond with "He needs Jesus!"? This is not indoctrination: this is an acquaintance with the ultimate source of truth, an introduction to the reality of good and evil, holiness and wickedness, falsehood and truth.

We must nurture them, teach them, equip them. And when we do, they will be ready. "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6) The world needs Jesus, and there is no better time for a person to learn this than when they are tiny.

"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints"
Ephesians 6:10-18

Hunter is 3 years, 4 months old

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