Answering Tough Questions from Kids about God
Posted by Phil
“Hey, Mom?” my son said one day. “If killing is wrong, then why did God help David kill Goliath?” Whoa! My child was only 3 years old! I was not expecting questions like this for at least seven more years. Over the next few weeks, he asked even more questions, such as “If Jesus is God’s Son, then who is God’s wife?” and “So Jesus and God are kind of the same but kind of different. How does that work?
Children are curious. Like it or not, you are going to be faced with tough questions from little seekers. At times, it can be overwhelming. After all, theologians and scholars have been debating the answers to some of these questions for centuries, so how can you be expected to know the answers and communicate them to children in a way that makes sense? The next time you find yourself stumped by a child’s question, keep the following guidelines in mind.
Encourage children to ask questions
When you feel you do not have the time or energy to get into difficult questions, it is tempting to reply with a quick, “That’s just the way it is” or “Because God said so.” But resist the temptation to be flippant or to blurt out responses that ultimately discourage children from asking questions. Children are genuinely curious about their world, and we need to create an environment that encourages them to seek the truth. When you do, you foster a lifelong desire to continue learning more about God.
Communicate at the child’s level
When answering a child’s tough questions about God, always take into consideration his age and maturity level. Use words and concepts that he can understand and that do not cause additional confusion. This may mean that at times you simplify an issue, such as the Trinity or Christ’s incarnation, to its most basic facts.
Do not be afraid to say you do not know the answer
Instead, join the child in discovering the answer to his questions. Feel free to say: “I’ll have to look that up and get back to you” or “I’m not sure how to answer that. Let’s find the answer together.” It is beneficial for children to see that you are not a supreme know-it-all but that you, too, are still learning about God and growing in your understanding of spiritual concepts.
Help an older child look up answers himself
Pointing children to resources available to them lays the foundation for a lifetime of seeking answers to the hard questions. Stock your bookshelf with a good Bible dictionary and commentary. Show the child how to look up the answer and discuss it with him.
Pray for spiritual understanding
A child’s understanding of spiritual matters is primarily influenced by the Holy Spirit. The Bible makes it clear that the concepts relating to God and His ways are not always easy to understand. Pray that the child’s spiritual eyes, as well as your own, will be opened to God’s truths.
My son is now 7 years old and the questions keep coming! But rather than feel frustrated, I look forward to hearing what he asks next, and I am excited to watch him learn even more about God.
by Katrina Baker on Tuesday, September 26, 2006