This was a mantra in the 1960’s. And there is actually some wisdom in this, but not nearly what the hippie generation thought.
As we raise our children and disciple them to follow the Lord, sometimes we close off the opportunity for them to ask questions. We fear if they share spiritual doubts with us, it means they are falling away from the faith. Sometimes, even churches put up a hard shell of doctrine that repels honest, open questions.
The reality is that if we shut down our children from asking questions of us or of the church, those questions will pop up later in life. Those unanswered questions may result in years of anguish, fear, guilt, and eventually bitterness and resentment leading to turning away from the church. Possibly even the faith.
It is important to remember that, for many of us, our children will come to faith in Jesus when they are young. They believe what we tell them is true. They follow our lead. They love Jesus because we love Jesus. This is a normal, natural part of their growth. But this is not where it ends.
The time will come when they make their own choice about their faith in God. And that HAS to start with asking their questions, sharing their doubts.
Our role is to encourage their honesty and seeking hearts.
Our homes should be those safe places where our children can ask their questions without fear of rejection. We shouldn’t be afraid of their questions, we should embrace them! Helping our children learn how to ask and seek Truth is a major part of discipling them. Helping them learn how to search the scriptures, and then how to interpret what they find, is critical in seeing that the next generation is one of strong faith rather than borrowed faith.
Borrowed faith is when I copy what my parents (or pastor or whomever) say. I quote them rather than speaking God’s words. I believe because they believe. It is not something that is a part of my nature, not a part of my deep commitment.
[Tweet “Borrowed faith does not last when times get rough because it is not a part of ME.”]
We should be the number one proponent of our children’s questions. We don’t have to dodge them in fear. I love the fact that God is big enough for ANY question. And His word gives Truth and Light to all who ask!
The Lord and Questions
I love looking at how Jesus responded to questions. Sometimes He never answered them at all. Those were the ones from the religious leaders seeking to trap Him into blasphemy. He either didn’t answer or He answered something totally different. To those who were sincerely seeking, He gave words of life.
We see God’s gentleness in responding to Gideon’s fear and doubts or with Mary’s wondering how the things she was being told were possible. Even Sarah’s laughter was dealt with tenderly.
When our children are sincerely asking, “How can this be?” we should not fear. GOD has the answer, the Truth for their queries. He wants them to follow out of faith and commitment of their own. This means He has no fear of their questions or of their doubts. And as we put our trust in God, neither should we.
If your children are beginning to share their doubts and questions, lay aside your fear and step into your faith, knowing that God has the answers to their heart’s desires. Pray to be like Jesus, who often answered the question of the heart rather than the words spoken. Perhaps God will direct you to answer questions they didn’t know they were asking.
image courtesy of khunaspix/freedigitalphotos.net