Death can be scary, and children seem so innocent. Should we really introduce them to concepts like death? Join AMBrewster as he helps Christian parents understand what the Bible says about death and why that’s eternally important for your kids.
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Happy October . . . and happy birthday to my dad . . . and happy almost birthday to my daughter.
Of course, the vast majority of Americans do not have my dad’s or my daughter’s birthdays in mind when October finally arrives.
They’re thinking about autumn and pumpkin spice everything and . . . duh, duh, duh . . . Halloween.
Yes, Halloween will be here soon, and this is the time of year for articles like ‘Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?” to make their rounds on social media.
Well, I hope you’ll help us share our various Halloween-themed episodes so Christian parents can hear a biblically-rooted approach to the subject.
I’ll share a link in the description of this video that will take you to our Halloween topic page. Share that link online, listen to the episodes, and share them with your friends.
God’s word has everything we need for life and godliness, and He calls us to do all to His honor and glory, and He further promises to equip us for all good works . . . that means that His Word will help us answer all our Halloween-related questions as well.
In fact, our next four episodes are going to deal with Halloweenish ideas.
Today we’re discussing how to be honest with our children about death, on our next episode we’ll be talking about how to prepare your kids for “what’s after,” we’ll touch on the dreaded zombie terrorists, and we’ll also talk about whether or not horror movies have any value in the life of a Christian.
I hope you’ll join us for all of those.
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Okay, let’s talk about how we should equip our children to think about death.
One of the reasons many people — Christian and non-Christian alike — keep their kids away from Halloween is the over-emphasis on death.
But, is shielding our kids from death truly the Christ-Honoring approach?
That’s a good question. And don’t forget that we have free episode notes linked below so you can go back and read the passages I cite and use this information as a template for guiding your kids through this topic.
I’m going to present this information a little differently today. Instead of trying to convince you of something, I’m going to assume we’re on the same page, and guide you through the information in a way that would be helpful for your kids.
In fact, if you want to invite your family to listen along to these episodes, that would be wonderful.
Hi, family! I’m glad you could join us.
For the rest of the show, we’re going to talk about a subject that can sometimes be scary or — at least — uncomfortable, but I believe there are super important aspects about this discussion because God has a lot to say about the issue.
We’re going to talk about death.
It’s something that people talk about a lot around Halloween. Graveyards, zombies, ghosts, chainsaw murderers; it’s everywhere.
But the Bible says a lot more about death than world does. In fact, there’s so much in the Scriptures on this topic, I won’t even be able to scratch the surface.
It’s also important to note that what the Bible has to say about death is far more intense than what you see during Halloween.
So, let’s just sit back and get a sweeping picture from the beginning of the Bible all the way to the end.
The Bible starts with a glorious story about life, and it ends with an absolutely amazing story about life that will last forever and ever with no possibility of death.
This is incredibly exciting. Mankind is constantly looking for a way to extend their lives. Immortality is enticing . . . it’s one of the reasons people like stories about vampires.
But we have to acknowledge that life is so beautiful — in part — because death is so scary.
And that’s what we find in the entire middle of the Bible. There’s death on nearly every page. And though the story ends with glorious eternal life for some, for billions and billions of people death will last for an eternity.
But from where did death come?
God didn’t create it. His initial plan didn’t included it. He gave man a chance to live forever in a perfect relationship with Him. But Adam and Eve wanted to do their own thing. They wanted to make choices that weren’t theirs to make. They — just like us — chose to sin.
And because of their sin, Genesis 3 tells us that God said to Adam, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; 18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
Romans 3:23 tells us, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” And Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death.”
I believe it’s important for children to know about death because God thinks it’s important for them to know about death.
And God wants us to know about death because he wants us to understand what our sin costs us.
When you disobey your parents, when you lie, when you cheat, when you say something unkind about someone in your school, when you’re lazy, when you refuse to eat your vegetables, and when you take someone else’s toy . . . you’re sinning. And even if you only sinned one time in your entire life, that one sin would have been against an infinite God. And because God is infinite, you would owe an infinite debt. And the only way a finite person can pay an infinite debt is to pay it for all eternity.
Our sin purchases us a place in Hell for all eternity.
That’s how bad our sin is.
This is why in Genesis 5 we read about the genealogy from Adam through Noah. And after each name God writes, “and he died.” In that one passage alone, God repeats Himself 10 times — “and he died.”
Millions of people died in the flood.
Billions more have died in the centuries since the flood.
But there’s one death in particular that stands out amongst them all.
Because God loves us so much, and because He doesn’t wish "that any should perish” (II Peter 3:9), God sent His Son Jesus to die for us.
Jesus was 100% God and 100% man. I can’t explain how amazing that is right now, but I’m sure your parents would love to talk with you about how that could be possible.
Anyway, Jesus died a terrible, horrendous death on the cross to pay the infinite debt you owe. And — what’s ever more amazing — is that He rose from the dead three days later, conquering death, and showing through His own resurrection His ability to save people from death.
Anyone and everyone who trusts that Jesus is Who He says He is and believes that He died on the cross to save them from their sins, and rose from the dead can be saved. They can become a follower of Christ.
Now, I need to point out that God didn’t promise that Christians would never die. In fact, Hebrews 9:27 reads, “It is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.”
The first death, the death that will separate our eternal spirits from our temporal bodies is guaranteed for most Christians. Sure, some may not see death because they get raptured right before the Tribulation, but the vast majority of Christ’s followers will die the first death.
However, His sacrifice on the cross saves us from the second death for all eternity in Hell. You see, in Hell, people don’t cease to exist. Everyone’s spirit is eternal.
The people who reject God and die in their sin will be given new bodies as well. These bodies will be able to pay what they own God. They will be ale to be separated from God — being burned — for all eternity without their bodies being destroyed.
This is the only way that sinful man can pay their debt to a perfect and holy God.
Of course, God would rather that no man go to Hell. He’d rather they accepted the free gift of Jesus Christ. But He won’t make them, and many will choose to live separated from God in this life . . . and the penalty for that is separation from Him for all eternity.
This is the first reason that children of all ages need to be aware of death. If they’re sheltered from the realities of death, they’re sheltered from the significance of their sin. If they’re sheltered from death, they’re sheltered from the debt they owe. If they’re sheltered from death, they’re sheltered from an appropriate understanding of the immense nature of Christ’s sacrifice.
But there’s a second reason children need to understand death.
They need to understand that they’re not God.
Children generally have little to no concept of death. It’s not until they see a dead bird or squirrel or lose a pet that they start to really grasp the significance of death. It’s a thief. It’s steals everything from an animal or person.
Since many children are sheltered form the lethal nature of life on this planet, they start living in a delusional mindset that they are immune from death. It’s not a concern for them.
This is a problem for many reasons. First, they aren’t immune from death. Thousands of children die all over the world die every day. Sickness, crime, abortion, and accidents are the main perpetrators.
Children are often very foolhardy. They do dangerous things because they’re not really concerned they’re going to die.
My children had an opportunity to sit by the deathbed of their great grandmother. It was a sobering reality. They saw the frail nature of life. They watched how easily it slips away. They heard the stories of this woman’s life, and though she looked so old, it was clear that her life wasn’t all that long.
She had done many wonderful things, and yet it all came and went so quickly.
Children should not be sheltered from death lest they not understand the eternal significance of sin and salvation.
But children should also not be sheltered from death lest they misunderstand that life is short.
James 4:14 says, “What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.”
II Corinthians 6:2 says, “Now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”
I’ve counseled many young people who were betting that they could live a long life however they wanted, and when they came to the end they would turn to Christ.
But in Luke 12:20-21, Jesus spoke of young man who was very rich. And this man had his whole life planned out, “But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be? So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.’”
I don’t mind that my children are surrounded by pretend death all October because it’s a sobering reality. Dr. Bob Jones the third has been known to say quite frequently, “The most sobering reality in the world today is that people are dying and going to hell today.”
Children need to know that. And children need to know how they can avoid that. And it’s good for children to be reminded of those two things.
There’s so much more that could be said, but I only have time to address one objection.
There are people who might say that children are too young and innocent. Exposing them to death would only scare them.
My friends, that is privileged, western thinking. Most of the world is surrounded by death and carnage on a daily basis. I think of the people living in the Middle East.
Yes, death is scary. Yes, it cleanses children of their “innocence.” But, if by innocence we mean delusion of the single most important realities of life — then I am happy to remove that delusion from my kids.
If you don’t know who Lloyd Legalist is, he and Church Curmudgeon are Twitter users who have a keen, satirical . . . sometimes just ridiculous way of dealing with heavy issues in the church from a comedic perspective.
Well, on this specific topic, Lloyd recently posted, “Explaining to a child that we’re mortal and that death is inescapable is probably, for me, the hardest part of being a party clown.”
And that right there either made you laugh or sent shivers down your spine.
We all understand there are wrong ways to do certain things and have certain conversations.
Well, I’m not suggesting that it’s appropriate for our kids to watch gruesome horror movies. We’ll talk about that later.
But I am saying that they should not be sheltered from the realities of death. And I do believe they should be introduced to it early and reminded of it often.
They should attend funerals. They should comfort ones close to death. It’s okay for them to be reminded by a plastic yard toy that death is a reality for all men. It’s been promised by God. But they need not fear it.
The rest of the world is petrified of death because they have no idea what it really is. All they know is it takes all they know. And that’s scary enough.
But we know that death is a necessary evil that can usher the born again Christian into the arms of his Savior!
We also know it’s something so dangerous to the unsaved that we should want to warn as many people as we can so they will not have to experience the second death.
Don’t steal the majority of the Bible from your kids. Don’t take away the foundational pieces of man’s plight and the eternal consequences of sin.
Don’t allow your kids to live in the delusion of immortality in their present form.
We all have a very short time to live on this planet. We all have super important things we need to do before we die. We don’t have the luxury of living this life for ourselves. There’s work to be done, and that work deals with rescuing people from the jaws of death.
If you have questions as to how to introduce children of various ages to the concerns we discussed today, you can feel free to write us at counelor@TruthLoveParent.com.
But I would recommend starting in Genesis. I would encourage you to make a big deal out the most amazing holiday we celebrate . . . Easter. Talk about the Passion Week and celebrate God’s glorious triumph over death.
If this episode blessed you or opened your eyes, please share it with others. You should also rate and review the show. Tell us how the Lord’s using TLP in your life.
Don’t forget to do your Amazon shopping with one of our links at TruthLoveParent.com, and join us next time as we discuss how to prepare your child for what’s after.
God wants for you to be the one to lay the necessary foundation for your child’s understanding of the things of God. Whether this involves death and the afterlife or how we’re to glorify Him now, the Bible has all you need.
And TeamTLP and I are here to help.
So, let’s do this again next time.
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