When I was small, I feared God.Not in the biblical sense of honoring and obeying God, although I tried hard to do that as well. I was actually afraid of God, whom, I believed, was always watching me, ready to pounce if I made a wrong move or even if I had a wrong thought. I spent much time wracked with guilt over the most minor perceived infractions, and I asked Jesus to “come into my heart” dozens of times, just to be on the safe side. I didn’t want to end up in hell through a clerical error on my own part, so I constantly asked for forgiveness and worried over each little ‘sin.’May I note here that this brand of fearful religion was emphatically not what was taught to me by my parents? It was not. Nor, I think, was it taught by my varied and colorful Sunday school teachers over the years. Still, when it came right down to it, the essence of being a Christian seemed to me to consist in keeping certain rules, because if you didn’t keep those certain rules just right, the wrath of God might come pouring out on you as it did on the people in Noah’s day, or those folks at the tower of Babel, or Sodom and Gomorrah.

God seemed both really powerful and really scary. “God is love,” my Bible (and countless Christian greeting cards) said, but I wasn’t so sure.

Have you ever considered why we tell children some of the stories we do? Noah’s ark is a favorite theme for nursery décor, and makes for fun coloring pages full of animals going two by two, but it’s a story of God nearly wiping humankind off the face of the earth.

Noah's Ark Box Cover, CMP Toys, 1970s. Photo courtesy Tom via Flickr Creative Commons.

Noah’s Ark Box Cover, CMP Toys, 1970s. Photo courtesy Tom via Flickr Creative Commons.

{The above is excerpted from a piece I wrote recently for iBelieve.com. Check it out! While you’re at it, you might like to check out this interview I recently did with the folks at Peace Hill Press, who published my just-released book.}

2 Comments

  1. It could be scary for kids, especially if they are taught the hell”fire” doctrine, when a place of fiery torment does not exist, not even for the wicked.

    Both Adam and Eve sinned against God by disobeying his command not to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and bad. However, after pronouncing judgment on them for their actions, God told them that “for dust you are and to dust you will return” (Genesis 3:19) after they died. That is what mankind has done ever since.

    In addition, Ecclesiastes 9:5,10 tells us the condition of the dead, that they know nothing at all (sleeping in death, as Jesus referred to at John 11:11-13 regarding Lazarus who had died) and go to the grave (King James Version), whether they are good or bad persons. That only makes sense since God is love (1 John 4:8) and a place of fiery torment forever would go against his personality. However, God is very just and will not always allow the wicked ones to make life miserable for meek ones (as in the days of Noah, even though he was a preacher of righteousness to those people, according to 2 Peter 2:5). Therefore, those wicked ones who refuse to repent and turn their lives around will meet a fate of death, not eternal torment.(See Psalms 37:10,11 re: the promise of the wicked one no longer existing).

    Another positive statement that can be made to children is that God will soon put an end to all sickness, disease, even old age and death, so that mankind will live forever on a paradise earth (Isaiah 11:1-10; Revelation 21:1-4). Even a child will be able to play upon the hole of a cobra, and the lion will eat straw like the bull, as Isaiah brings out. The animals will be at peace with one another, along with complete brotherhood of man worldwide.

    Even more fantastic is God’s promise to bring back to life on a cleansed earth those we have lost due to death due to accidents, disease, natural disasters, etc. (John 5:28,28; Acts 24:15).

    All of these Bible-based points can help our children to appreciate how loving and caring God really is about mankind.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments with many links may be automatically held for moderation.