10 Things We Tell Our Children About Violence in the World -Part 3
We have been talking about violence in the world today in my last 2 posts and I must admit, it can be very overwhelming and hard to remain positive or hopeful with new reports of violence daily. We know more about what is happening in our local communities, our nation, and around the world, but unfortunately, most of that news entails some type of disorder or bloodshed. Most of us wonder if violence is on the rise, or if technology merely allows us to see more of what happens around the world. Personally, I don’t know, but I do believe that the more we know, the heavier our hearts may feel the weight of such pain and injustice.
Solomon encountered this dilemma in his quest for understanding wisdom, madness and folly, and eventually concluded it was futile: “For with much wisdom comes much sorrow: the more knowledge, the more grief.” Eccl 1:18
He looked at everything that was happening in the world at that time, tried desperately to understand it, but could not. In fact, the more he knew, the greater his frustration. “What is twisted cannot be straightened, what is lacking cannot be counted.” Eccl 1:15
We too, often feel overwhelming sorrow and grief over what happens in the world around us, especially when the violence seems to pervade the media, our communities, and for some, our personal relationships.
And it can be frightening for our children who have such limited view and inability to see the “bigger picture.”
How do we hold on to hope? What can we tell our children so that they are not overwhelmed with fear and anxiety?
In Part 1 this series, I explained the Biblical world view which my husband and I take in explaining things to our children, especially violence in our world today. The foundation we lay is:
- that there is BOTH good and evil at work in this world,
- that everyone has an enemy (ours is Satan), and
- that people are not our actual enemy but rather, an instrument of our true enemy.
Part 2 picks up from there and reminds us:
- that the Day of Christ IS approaching,
- that suffering is sometimes a necessary part of our following Christ,
- no one has the power over the day of his death-to avoid it or extend it, and
- only God can fully understand everything from start to finish- we cannot.
So where is the hope we can take hold of for ourselves and our children?
No one is getting away with anything!
Our worldly governments may fall short in meting out justice, but God will not.
“God will bring to judgment both the righteous and the wicked, for there will be a time for every activity, a time for every deed.” Eccl 3:17
The writer of Hebrews understood this and cautioned, “It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Heb 10:31) And Old Testament writers called Yahweh a consuming fire.
If we are to fear anyone, we should fear God, not man, because He has authority over the eternal destination of our souls. It is He who will judge and exact final rewards or punishment. God sees it all; no one gets away with anything!
God IS in Control– He is not Is Passive or Disinterested
We see the sovereignty of God throughout the Bible, yet when bad things happen we begin to question this observation. But Jesus assured the people, “God is at work to this very day.” (John 5:17)
He is not absent, checked out, or resting— He is at work, fulfilling His plan for the ages. Jesus Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father waiting for His enemies to be made his footstool (Heb 10:13) another indication of activity and advancing of His overarching plans.
We also know that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him“- this is an active present tense. We cannot see this or understand it all of course, because we do not share His perspective or concept of time.
We do NOT need to be afraid!
We will overcome this world because Christ has overcome! “Everyone born of God overcomes the world.” (I John 5:4) We can trust this because
“…greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” (I John 4:4)
But if that isn’t enough reassurance, Paul told the Christians in Rome who were facing intense persecution that neither death, life, angels, demons, the present, the future, any powers, neither height, nor depth, or anything else in all creation can separate us from God’s love! (Rom 8:38-39) Nothing. No thing. No one.
We know this world is broken. We know that people are also broken. There is a battle raging and will not end until Christ returns. But when violence erupts or closes in on us, we must lift our eyes and see the bigger picture. We must help our children recognize the true battle and from whom our help comes.
That is the only way to strengthen and empower them to go out into this world without fear, without reservation, filled with hope and confidence in our Savior!
In other words, “If God is for us, [and our children too] WHO can be against us?” (Rom 8:31)
NOTE: To bring hope and comfort to our smaller children aware of or fearful of violence they have heard about, here are a few age appropriate ways to redirect their focus:
- Point out the Good. Remind them (and yourself) of the many people / organizations that are changing their communities and nations for the better! If we see everyone as an instigator or potential terrorist, the world becomes a very dark place. Hold on to the good and celebrate and get involved with change that is positive and serves others!
- Reassure them of YOUR ability / efforts to protect. Children don’t see how our every day actions serve to protect them. Things like holding hands when we cross the street, keeping them close in public places, locks on our doors, wearing bicycle helmets, our general awareness of surroundings, choices we make in places we go / avoid — ALL serve to protect them! They are actively guarded by YOU and other loved ones. Pointing out active safeguards bolsters confidence and brings comfort.
- Remind them that we are never alone. God is with us and hears us (and them!) If we believe that God made us (and He did) he can also protect and see us through anything!
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