This post isn’t about what you think it might be … 😉 The other day my husband shared with me the following excerpt from a post from a blog we like to read, “Free-Range Kids” authored by Lenore Skenazy,
Dear Free-Range Kids: My kids have a children’s bible which says “and Jesus went away.” Kind of destroys one of the central tenets of Christianity.
Yikes! For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son a long vacation? “Judas! What is this ticket to Bermuda for?” The possibilities are pretty endless. — L.
I find Lenore’s response to be funny and accurate. More importantly, the one sending the comment to Lenore makes an important point: we destroy one of the primary tenets of the Gospel if we rephrase it. Jesus didn’t just ‘go away’, He died.
But, obviously, someone had some concern about how we should talk about the event of the cross with our children; otherwise, the particular author and publishing company that authored and published such a version of a Children’s bible wouldn’t have used different language then what we are typically familiar with about the event of the cross.
Still, the post made me wonder: how should we talk about the Cross with our children? Do we need to watch our language and rephrase parts? Or, should we just go ahead and tell them the story? Now, I have no idea how to accurately answer that question; my boys are 4 and 2, and we are just breaking the ice into the deeper things of God, Jesus, and humanity. We have yet to talk about Jesus’ death on the cross and what that means. I am not a child psychologist, I couldn’t come up with an answer, thus, I turned to the one source I knew would tell me what language I should use about the event of the Cross: The Jesus Storybook Bible, AKA the best Children’s Bible out there, by far. (For another post about this bible, check out Justin Holcomb’s post here). Anyway, I thought I’d share how The Jesus Storybook Bible tells the story of Jesus’ death (taken from the chapter titled, “The sun stops shining”):
Even though it was midday, a dreadful darkness covered the face of the world. The sun could not shine. The earth trembled and quaked. The great mountains shook. Rocks split in two. Until it seemed that the whole world would break. That creation itself would tear apart.
The full force of the storm of God’s fierce anger at sin was coming down. On his own Son. Instead of his people. It was the only way God could destroy sin, and not destroy his children whose hearts were filled with sin.
Then Jesus shouted out in a loud voice, “It is finished!”
And it was. He had done it. Jesus had rescued the whole world.
“Father!” Jesus cried. “I give you my life.” And with a great sign he let himself die.
Strange clouds and shadows filled the sky. Purple, orange, black. Like a bruise.
While I believe that there are plenty of words and sights that I should do my best to keep away from my children; the truth of and in the Gospel is not one of them. The author of the Jesus Storybook Bible, Sally Lloyd-Jones, writes in her acknowledgments, “To my parents who first told me The Story, as a four year old…” I want to be that type of parent; the one who tells The Story.
When we tell the Gospel Story to our children, we should stop watching our language, precisely because they ARE listening.