I know it’s old fashioned to talk about hell. But since Jesus did, I think we should at least mention it to our kids. I mean, we tell them about the danger of hot stoves and electrical sockets and busy roads; shouldn’t we also tell them about the one who can kill both body and soul?
The tricky thing is to not manipulate. I made this mistake. When Lindsay was four, I took her out on the front porch and told her, “There’s a place called Hell. It’s hot and dark and burning. It never stops and you can never get out. You’re going there unless you ask Jesus to save you.”
What choice did I give her? She caved in and ‘got saved’. But for years she wondered if she really was. I think it’s because it wasn’t the Holy Spirit working in her heart that day; it was me.
But on the other hand, conversations about hell have actually opened my kids’ hearts to God. You’d think it would be the opposite. (ie: “God made that horrible place? I don’t like God. I’m going to plug my ears now.”) But hell is accountability. It tells us that God is not OK with us trashing his name or ignoring his standards.
Hell is reciprocal to God’s worth. If you insult an important person, you might get sent to the principal’s office or have to pay a fine. But if you insult God, you get eternal damnation. Therefore, God must be worth a lot. And he expects us to act like it.
I have talked to my kids about God’s grace and mercy and kindness and love since they were little. But until I talked to them about his wrath, they didn’t really understand his worth, and they didn’t realize how much they needed his mercy.
What have you said you your kids about Hell?