Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Answering a Tough One

My kids are big fans of Veggie Tales.  What's not to love about a tomato and a cucumber who teach values and Bible stories in an adorable manner?  When we drive to preschool on Mondays and Wednesdays, I let the kids watch a Veggie Tales DVD in the van because it makes it so much easier for Micah when he has to wait in the van while I bring Isaiah into school.

There's a great Veggie Tales movie about Jonah and his story.  I'll never forget the time Isaiah was playing with a couple cars in the living room, making them talk like characters from that movie.  Out of nowhere, my four year old made his Lightning McQueen car exclaim, "I am NOT going to Nineveh!"  Hilarious.

Yesterday, my four year old asked me why Jesus had to die.

Oh boy.

We were watching the Veggie Tales Easter Carol (it was the one he picked out!) and there's a part where a little angel named Hope sings a song about the hope we find in Easter and in the resurrection. 

Now, Isaiah's heard plenty about Jesus, but it was like it clicked all of a sudden when he saw a stained glass window of the crucifixion on this movie. 

He turned to me and asked, "Did Jesus die?" 
I replied, "Yes, sweetie.  Jesus died on the cross."
Isaiah thought about his for a moment and then asked, "Why Mommy?  Why did Jesus die on the cross?"

Wow, what a loaded question, kiddo.  I could have gone into a huge lesson about sin and how Jesus was perfect and that his sacrifice on the cross is what saved each and every one of us and that through him, we can live forever with our Father.  I suppose I might have told him about the "mean guys" who betrayed and persecuted Jesus, ultimately killing him because they didn't understand who he was.  And I guess I also could have discussed that Jesus was just obeying what his Father had told him to do, so he should really obey his parents too!  Ok, maybe not that last one.  ;)

Instead, I asked Isaiah to come sit by me and I held him on my lap.  I told him this:

"Isaiah, Jesus died to save you and me and everyone who believes in him.  He died because he loves you so much.  Never forget that he died because he loves you."

His eyes filled up with tears and his lower lip stuck out a bit, like it always does when he's about to have a full-on meltdown.  "But Mommy!  I don't WANT Jesus to die!"

I could see that I may have made a mistake here.  Leave it to me to mess up such a crucial parenting moment.  In about 15 seconds, I had accidentally convinced my preschooler that Jesus' death was his fault. Whoops.

Damage control time.

"Sweetie, I know you wouldn't want Jesus to die, but he chose to.  God asked him to die so that he could take away all the sin of everyone who believes in him.  But you know what the good news is?  He came back to life!  That's what Easter is about, when Jesus came back to life and got to go up to Heaven to be with God!  Understand, honey?"

"Yup. Can I have a cookie?"

I doubt he'll look back on that conversation as the watershed moment where he really understood what it meant to be a Christian, but at least he no longer felt like he had murdered Jesus. 

I gave him two cookies.

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