It’s a bitter sweet moment when you realize your child is old enough to understand who God is and who Jesus was and what He did for us. It’s sweet because your kid now has the makings of a possible relationship with our Creator and the greatest strength and love they will ever know. It’s bitter because now, that they have reached an age to understand there is a choice they must make, it’s like they’ve been sealed with an approval. “Yes, now that she/he knows the choice, you are now condemned until further notice.”
I grew up in the Catholic church. Typically, if you were born to “practicing Catholics” then you were baptized as a baby and that kind of “secures” your way into heaven until you go through Confirmation and you make “the decision.” I was baptized, went through the sacraments, including confirmation, but it was mostly out of peer pressure or it was just what was done. You reach a certain age and if you don’t complete a sacrament you can’t move on. Do not pass GO, do not collect… So I never had a heart felt relationship with Jesus. I knew who he was. I believed that He did and was who everyone told me He was. I believed that God created everything and was my Father in Heaven, but was also made to believe that I had to earn my way into heaven. That salvation wasn’t a known thing until you’re standing at the pearly gates and you’re judged. That there were things called “mortal sins” that pretty much bought you a one way ticket to hell. (Hence why I was certain, up until a year ago, that I was going to hell anyway, so what was the point?)
Anyway, the kids and I have been attending church regularly for a year now (my husband makes it when his job allows) and our oldest is starting to ask questions and seriously consider whether or not she’s ready to accept Jesus into her heart. She was baptized by a Catholic chaplain when she was about a year old, but she understands that it did nothing for her salvation. She knows who Jesus is and what he did for us, but she’s not quite ready to accept His gift to her. Which is perfectly fine! I don’t want her to feel pressured like I did. I want her to truly want a relationship with Him and for her to want to grow with Him as another guide in her life. Not simply memorize stories or verses or “do the things” and go through life still feeling lost.
She can take all the time she needs! However, now that she understands, she may be at that age of accountability…and I did NOT like hearing her say that she would go to Hell if she died today because she was not ready to accept Jesus. It was incredibly heartbreaking! A piece of me wanted to grab her by the arms and shake her and try to make her understand how wonderful heaven will be and how scary hell is. Part of me wanted to be able to take a brochure (not that there is one) and do a sales pitch on heaven. However, that’s not the important part and I didn’t want her to “buy into some time share that she felt stuck with and never used.” So, I held my peace and I was proud of her for wanting to sit down and talk about it. She asked some great questions and I am amazed by how much she has grown in her faith in just this past year!
There are many people who get antsy when talking about anyone going to hell, especially children. However, we are ALL children to God and we all reach an age when we purposely commit sins, knowing that we are doing something very wrong the whole while. There are many children who are never presented with the gospel, much less even hear the name of God or Jesus. The unsaved, however, are all promised a final chance at heaven. Those that were killed in the name of God and Jesus before the resurrection of Christ will be risen from the dead, and then the rest of the masses will be judged by their works during their lives. God wants each and every one of us to be in Heaven with him, and if we are presented with the gospel and we don’t accept Jesus….well, that’s a big fat bummer. (to put it nicely)
Jesus saith unto him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6
No man. No one, can go to heaven (to be with God), unless you have accepted the gift of Jesus covering your sins.
So, needless to say…I’m praying she doesn’t take as long as I did to accept His gift of salvation, however, I have faith that His timing will be perfect and that she will live the life she needs to in order to have His blessings truly take hold of her. She’s not nearly as stubborn and bull-headed as I am, so at least she has that going for her! It did open my eyes more to my responsibility to my children, though. That I need to continue to grow and change and to show the fruits of the spirit that are being cultivated in me. That I can show them the joy and peace that comes from having Jesus in my life by simply being and acting as I should. By having conversations and prayer time. My family never talked about God or Jesus at home. I only remember hearing those names at church. We prayed over our evening meal, and I was taught to say my prayers before bed when I was little, but that was it. I wasn’t taught the importance of prayer…just that I had to memorize certain prayers and say them a certain number of times.
Everyone wants to ponder “the meaning of life.” The meaning? To glorify and grow closer to the one who made you and wants you to join him again one day, and bring as many friends as you possibly can! That’s it. I want my family and friends to be there with me! So, I want my kids to know that Jesus is a member of the family and that they are free to talk about him and God whenever they want, because our life is all for Him anyway. He knows what is in the hearts of our children and whether they can be held accountable yet, or not. It is not for me to say. I will do my best to do my part in showing them Christ’s love and the power of His forgiveness, so that they may one day join in heaven the countless souls who believe in His saving grace.Tags: Accountability, Believe, children, Christian, faith, God, Gospel, Heaven, Hell, Jesus, John, Joy, Love, peace, Revelation, Salvation, Trust
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