Some of you will face questions today from your kids about why God lets disasters like this happen. Check out this post on Explaining the Unexplainable for some tips on talking to your kids about tragedy.
My youngest got something in her hair yesterday. Now, that might not sound like a big deal, but my youngest has thick, corkscrew curly hair. To make matters worse, her hair is in desperate need of a haircut, which means it is at its thickest. Some mornings, it's tough to get a pick through it, much less a fine-toothed comb. Top that off with a tender-headed kid, and you can imagine how my afternoon went yesterday. By the time we got done, she was in tears and I was frustrated.
After everyone was in bed last night, I started thinking about how sin is a lot like the stuff my youngest got in her hair. It gets stuck in our lives, and sometimes it's really hard to get out. Once Satan gets a foothold in our lives through sin, he doesn't want to let go easily. And unlike the nasty stuff in my daughter's hair, sin can masquerade as something nice. It can be enjoyable and tempting. In the end, though, it will lead us to the same result I experienced yesterday -- frustration and sadness.
The other thing about sin is that it rarely stays in just one area of our lives. Once it gets its claws into one area of our lives, it wants to spread to other areas. And then it's even harder to get rid of. The only way to get rid of it is to turn it over to God, and let Him work on it. Psalm 103:12 tells us "as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us." But, we have to ask God to forgive us for our sin and to help us stop sinning. 1 John 1:9 promises "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."
Help your kids understand what sin looks like in their lives and how it can spread if we don't confess it to God.
- Give your kids a coffee filter or a napkin. Drip some water with red food coloring in it on the coffee filter or napkin. Watch the stain spread. Talk with your kids about how sin is like that water on the coffee filter. It starts as a little spot, but if we don't get rid of it by confessing it to God and asking for His forgiveness, it can start to take over our lives, just like the red water spread across the napkin.
- Take a square of fabric or an old T-shirt and use a permanent black marker to draw on it. Then ask your kids to get the stain out. Give them some soap and stain remover and have them scrub the stain. Talk about how it's impossible to get the stain out ourselves. Sin is like that. We can't get rid of our sin without God's help. When we repent and confess our sins to God, He removes them and forgets about them.
- Read Psalm 103:12 with your kids. Get out a map of the United States, show your kids how far it is from the West Coast to the East Coast. Talk about how God separates our sin from us even farther than that because east and west will never meet; they just continue on into space. Ask your kids how that makes them feel to know that God forgives us and doesn't hold our wrong actions and thoughts against us.