Waking up to the news of the senseless shootings in Colorado was a reminder that evil can make its mark just about anywhere. One news program I watched asked for input from parents as to what they were telling their children about the events in Colorado. I would like to have listened to more of the parental responses than I was able to, but it got me to thinking: What DO we say when our children ask, “Why is there evil in the world?”
When I faced the problem of evil as a young mom of two little girls, I was not naive. I knew that I could not promise to always safeguard them from being harmed by evil, that was not realistic. I wanted to offer my daughters more than a philosophy to face the reality of evil but was clueless as to what that might be. Looking back, I realize that what I wanted for them was substance . . . a place for them to stand so that they were not run by the fear of evil as I was for much of my life.
Reading a book entitled, The Hiding Place was life changing for me. Written by a Dutch woman named Corrie ten Boom, she tells the true story of how her family, during one of the darkest times in history, hid their Jewish neighbors because of their love and commitment to Christ. The Hiding Place beautifully portrays God’s faithfulness to Corrie and her family before, during and after the war. In the book, Corrie describes the horrors of living in a German death camp and the small miracles that sustained their faith. The book reveals how Corrie and her sister Betsy ministered to the women in their barracks using a Bible they were able to smuggle in with them. Betsy died in the camp but Corrie was miraculously released a week before all the women in her age category were gassed. She also writes about God’s faithfulness in providing courage to return to Germany after the war to minister to the suffering German people. Deep down, I recognized in Corrie and her family the courage that I lacked. This hit me especially hard because we had Jewish neighbors. I was deeply convicted in knowing that if our times turned bad as they did during World War II, I lacked the courage to love my neighbors the way the ten Boom family loved theirs. I recognized that FAITH was the substance I needed and desired to pass on to my children to help them face potentially evil times.
The following are some of the ways I was able to talk to my children about the realities of evil and the hope we have that extends beyond this world because of a loving God:
- We talked about how sin entered the world because of man’s rebellion against God. The Bible says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)
- We talked about our need of a Savior and God’s provision of His Son, our Lord Jesus: “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” (John 3:17)
- The Bible became our guide as we sought to honor God and love our neighbors even when it was hard.
- I read The Hiding Place as well as other stories about other Christian heroes to my children at very early ages to encourage their faith.
- When bad things happened we talked about staying close to God’s light as we live in dark times. I John 1 tells us:
“This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with Him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin.” (Verses 5-7)
When you talk to your children (and grandchildren) keep what you have to say simple and to the point: God calls evil “sin” and He hates it. Use times like these to talk to them about what the Bible says about Sin being rebellion against God. Pray with thanksgiving to God for the gift of each child’s life and for our eternal future secured through Christ Jesus.
I do not believe there are any satisfying answers to the question of why there is evil. However, the question that come to my mind when pondering the awful affront that sin is to a Holy God is, WHY does He love us at all?!!
All to His Glory . . . .