In the book of Proverbs, the "simple-minded" are reprimanded for their naivety and tendency to be gullible, believing everything without question. Simple-mindedness often characterizes children, because they lack the maturity and wisdom to effectively navigate the stormy sea of information that tries to drown its victims.
In my interactions with children the last two weeks through Bible in Schools and Kids Club, I was reminded once again just how important it is for us to pour truth into our kids and teach them how to think critically and ask questions.
Bible in Schools:
I have a lovely 10yr old student in the classroom were I teach Bible who is part of a Hindu family. After an opening time of prayer and sharing things for which we wanted to thank God, she came up to me, beaming with excitement about a birthday party ceremony her family had just held for one of their many Hindu gods. She told of the festivities and identified all the things she liked about various gods as though she were speaking of her favourite cartoon character or a TV celebrity.
She had no idea the deception that was pouring right out of her lips . . .my heart was saddened inside. I searched my vocabulary for ways in which to respond to her comment. (After all, I was in a public school setting and even though I am the "Bible" teacher/ volunteer, I still have to be very careful to avoid "evangelizing" or pushing my own religious convictions upon the students. Likewise I must avoid condemning or making defining statements about the religious view of others in the class. ) At that point, I could only respond with a simple, " Hmm. That's interesting. That sounds a lot different than the One True God that my Bible teaches about."
Following that encounter with her two weeks ago I had been praying for her quite a bit, knowing that her young mind had been fed lies of false gods who can do nothing for her, but cloud her mind and leave her with empty promises. I prayed for God to help me find more creative ways to infuse into my lessons the truth that the God of Israel is indeed the only true God. Interestingly enough, this week she volunteered to read a prayer out of my "prayer box" at the beginning of class. Then after a brief lesson about how the Church functions the body of Christ, she came up and made the comment, "It seems to me that he is the only real God there is."
Score! Bingo! Righto- Cheerio! Now we're on the right track!
Please continue to pray for God to reveal himself as the Only True God who loves her and wants her to be his child.
At Kids Club tonight we were once again beginning our session (as we do), by reading prayers out of my "prayer box" and then making time for open prayer among the group. A conversation surfaced about the different Maori dieties that are thought to rule the sea, land, and to have created things of long ago. Many Maori children are taught legends about these gods as if they were true and therefore a tension arises when they are introduced to the One True God of the Bible who is Lord of all and has no equal. In my experience, I have observed that some individuals develop a sort of syncretism whereby they accept the God of the Bible as the high God, yet allow the Maori gods to fit into their understanding as lower less powerful gods. The truth is that God is God alone and there is no other.
Then a comment was made concerning the theory of evolution and the question was asked, "Why do they say we come from apes?" It was evident that this child was distressed at the thought that she was somehow less than human. Ugh. Here we go again. Our children, the simple-minded, are being fed lies at school that will shape the way they think and approach life from here on out, and if no one pipes in and teaches them to think for themselves, they'll follow the masses like lambs led to the slaughter.
My response this time was, "That is a theory called evolution. It's how some people try to explain the origins of mankind, but that is not what the Bible teaches us. God teaches us in his word that HE created mankind in his own image because of his love. God didn't have to make us, as if he needed anything or was lonely. The cool thing is that He did it because he loves us. Don't worry; you're not a monkey!" He he!
I could carry-on about all the quirky questions and conversations that arise when you work with children, but let it suffice to say: There are dangers in being simple-minded. We who are a bit wiser (hopefully) ought to be watching out for the minds of our children, teaching them how to find and cling to the Truth found in God's Word.