There are many different views and misconceptions about hell. It’s a topic most of us probably try to avoid teaching our kids because we are afraid to cause them fear. We love them too much to upset them, right? But we are missing something important. That’s exactly what Satan wants — for us to keep the idea of hell silent and hidden.
Think of it this way, if your child was going to put himself in danger, you would do everything to stop him! So why is it that we as parents don’t do everything we can to warn our kids about the dangers of hell?
We claim we believe in its existence, but to claim that belief and not be willing to talk about it doesn’t really make sense.
The first question your children might ask you is something along the lines of: “If God loves us, why would he want anyone to go to hell?”
It’s important to teach your children that God doesn’t want anyone to go to hell. This place was created for Satan and his demons who rebelled against God in heaven. Hell was never meant for us. But with the free will given to us to rebel, some choose hell. But that is why God puts His followers on a mission — a mission to spread the good news of His saving grace! That mission starts in our homes with our children!
To the people who say they are “saved” but don’t believe in hell, I ask..then what are you saved from? If you believe in the Bible, you can’t pick and choose the parts you like or “agree with” to formulate your own version of God. Yes, God is loving and merciful, but he also talks more in scripture about hell than he does about heaven. So why aren’t we?
Maybe because we don’t want to scare our children. Hell is sometimes seen as a “threat from God.” But I’d like to challenge you to change your perspective. Scripture talks about hell, not because God wants to send us there, but because He’s giving us a warning that it exists! I heard a sermon recently about how we are perfectly fine with warning our kids about touching the hot stove or running out into the road, so how much more should we be willing to do whatever it takes to keep them from an eternity in hell? It would be unloving of God to not warn us of a terrible place he knows existed. As parents who want to protect our children, we are loving them by telling them the truth about the existence of hell.
Luke 16:19-31 tells a story of the Rich Man and Lazarus. The Rich Man lived in luxury while Lazarus laid at his gate with sores all over his body. Both men died. Lazarus was taken to heaven while the Rich Man was sent to Hades. As soon as the Rich Man understood his fate, this is his reply: “Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.”
His FIRST response was to share a warning with those he loved. The reality of hell fueled his empathy.
Mamas, I wish hell wasn’t a reality. I wish I could protect my kids from knowing about such a terrible place, but it’s a truth they must know. Hell doesn’t have to be known or understood as “the place people go when they are bad.” It can be known as the place we can ALL choose to be saved from ever knowing.
I cannot let fear keep me from sharing with my children the freedom God offers through accepting Christ. The story of hell doesn’t have to end in fear and sadness. The story can end in hope of eternal life because of the gift of grace! That’s a story to celebrate and share with the world — a story to never ever want to keep to ourselves!
This message is urgent: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” –John 3:16-17, 36
How do you lovingly tell your children about heaven and hell?
Unsure how to have the conversation about heaven and hell in an age-appropriate way? Check out this awesome book that puts the story on a level children can understand: The Biggest Story: How The Snake Crusher Brings Us Back To The Garden