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What Our Kids Fear
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I’d spent the morning with a group of over 60 seventh and eighth graders. Wanting to better understand this age group, I asked them to write down their answer to this question: “If you could ask God one question, what would it be?”

I expected them to want to ask God things like why their parents got divorced, if their pet would be in heaven, or why their grandparent had to die. But when I read their papers, I found that many wanted to ask questions about their own salvation:

“Will I be saved?”
“Am I good enough to make it to heaven?”
“Am I going to burn in hell?”
“Will God forgive the bad I’ve done and save me when He comes?”

It wasn’t just a few kids who were anxious about their salvation—it was by far the most frequent question written. As a parent, I had to ask myself a few questions: Where are we going wrong? What are we teaching or preaching or living that makes our kids fear for their salvation? Have we tried so hard to raise them to “be good” that we’ve failed to teach them that salvation is a gift? And that their own salvation can be certain?

I believe that our kids’ views of salvation begin at home. What kind of example are we setting? Are we unsure of our own salvation and our kids are picking up on that? What are we teaching them about salvation in family worship? Are we reading stories that will cause them to live in fear and uncertainty? Are we slow to forgive when they misbehave so that they think God is unforgiving?

Reassure Both Parents and Kids

There are plenty of texts regarding salvation that can reassure both parents and kids. Here are some of my favorites:

 “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13).

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 3:8, 9).

“ ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life’ ” (John 3:16).

“ ‘I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand’ ” (John 10:28).

“ ‘All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away’ ” (John 6:37).

Why not sit down with your kids to read and discuss these texts. Then discuss where obedience to God’s law comes in. If salvation is free, why must we obey? And finally, help them see that God doesn’t want them to live in fear, but to look forward to His second coming with confidence and eagerness.

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By Nancy Canwell. Copyright © 2013 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

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