I asked Jesus into my heart in the parking lot of Gerland’s grocery store when I was six years old. A few weeks later I put on a white robe, stepped down into the warm baptistry and was baptized in front of hundreds of people and was raised into “newness of life.”
And then I asked Jesus into my heart in my parents living room when I was 13 years old. A few weeks later I put on another robe, this time a little larger, stepped down into the same warm baptistry and got baptized in front hundreds of people (many of them the same) and was raised into “newness of life.”
And Jesus didn’t come into my heart either time. And I didn’t find a new life after being lifted out of the water. As a kid I was obsessed with religion in the way kids are obsessed with dangerous and powerful things they don’t understand. God was great and vengeful. God knew everything, which meant he knew everything I did wrong. Somehow I grew up believing in a God that I could keep out of my life if I just let Jesus into my heart. But I didn’t really understand until I was in my early 20s that Jesus doesn’t want to just forgive my sin. He wants to heal it. And that he doesn’t just want in my heart, he wants me to enter his.
To this day I’m recovering from lies I learned as a kid. We all are. Just a few weeks ago I heard someone say that the best thing about knowing God is with him at all times is that it makes him afraid to sin. The all-knowing, all-powerful creator and sustainer of the Universe makes himself available to us constantly and the best thing about it is that it makes us scared? I’m not mocking this guy. I can’t because I feel this way more often than not. I began to wonder, “How can I make sure my kids know who God really is?”
That night my son came into our bedroom after a nightmare and refused to go back to his own bed. I picked him up and took him to his bed and asked him, “Soren, did you know that God loves you even more than daddy does?” He said that he did. Then I told him, “Soren, God loves you and is always with you. When daddy goes to work or to school or to sleep God is still with you. Repeat after me, ‘God is always with me.’” And he slept soundly.
Since then I’ve been thinking all the time about how to teach Soren about God. While I still have a lot to learn I think I’ve established some habits that will help provide the foundation for teaching my kids about God. Over the next few days I’ll share some of the things I’ve learned for anybody wondering how to talk to their own kids, or anybody just wanting to relearn about the goodness and love of God.