I’m not sure how to even begin this post. I’ve started and re-started roughly ten times and I’ve come to the conclusion there’s no graceful way to broach this subject so I’m just going to start right on in . . .
The most recent news of the Christian holocaust taking place in Iraq is beyond an unspeakable tragedy. I’ve had moments of anger at God, though I realize illogical, and we’ve hashed out some tough questions because simply put . . . I don’t know what to do about it all and I just want Jesus to come back and end it.
I feel helpless. What can we do to help our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ? We can’t send food. We can’t sign a petition. We can’t have a shoe drive or send medical aid.
All we can do is pray. Like crazy. And donate to the Anglican Church in Iraq (I’m sure there are other relief organizations accepting donations but this was the only one I could find as of Saturday afternoon.)
As a mother, my heart is burdened with a heaviness I haven’t felt since 9/11. There are women in our Christian sisterhood who are losing their babies to beheadings, their husbands are being hanged and horrible stuff is happening to them as well.
Just because they live far from us doesn’t mean these mothers don’t love their children the same way we love ours.
But they are living a nightmare.
I want to raise my children up in truth and sometimes, this means hard truth. We can’t just choose to share the rosy truth because that’s the same as lying.
If we omit the hard truths and edge our way around them with PC talk and wishy-washy answers, our kids will eventually 1) be shocked at the hard truths that aren’t going away anytime soon, 2) wonder what else we edited and 3) not have tools to help them sort-through the hard truths.
Here’s how we can talk to our children about terrorism (note that my children are nine, seven, and six years old. You can adjust accordingly to the ages of your children):
1. Share that there are fellow Christians in the Middle East who really need our prayers. As a family, we are going to be praying for Christians in the Middle East every time we pray before meals and before bed and any other time we need to cry out to God. It’s the only way we can help them.
2. Explain what is going on without over-sharing the gore. The kids and I talked about how this conflict has been going on since Old Testament times. We discussed the ISIS terrorists and what they believe – they are Muslim extremists who despise Christians and teach their children to do the same so the cycle continues. They believe they are doing good by ridding the world of anyone who doesn’t believe the same as they believe and have no sense of compassion for the human race. They have chased people up into a mountain and if they come down, they will be killed by these terrorists but if they stay on the mountain, they will eventually starve to death or die from thirst. The United States is trying to help by dropping packages of food and water on to the mountain from airplanes. We did not discuss the fact that children are being beheaded or fathers and mothers are being murdered in front of their children because I didn’t feel that part was developmentally appropriate for our children.
3. Be open and willing to answer questions. There will be plenty because honestly, this is even hard for adults. If they ask for details that go beyond what you believe to be appropriate for them to know, you can simply remind them it’s your job as their parent to guard and protect their hearts until they can do so themselves. That being said, if my nine year old daughter asked detailed questions, I would be more open to sharing with her than I would her six year old brother. Her brother was stressed out about getting kidney stones after watching “Heaven is For Real” tonight. No way are we talking about beheadings. The point is, you know your child and you know what they are capable of understanding.
4. Reassure them they are safe. We live in a country where we have the freedom to believe what we want to believe. What is happening there is not happening here but it’s a great opportunity to also talk about other countries whose believers are persecuted for following Jesus. We need to pray for them all and be grateful for the freedom we so often take for granted.
5. Remind them of who wins in the end.
And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever. – Revelation 20:10
“Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” – Revelation 21:3-5
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. – John 16:33
Scripture is the bullet we shoot at fear. Fear is from the enemy. Therefore, we shoot the enemy with scripture.
Scripture is an easy truth while terrorism is a hard truth – but a hard truth we’ll prepare our children to understand if we aren’t scared to talk about it.
What hard truths have you had to talk about with your children lately?
Will you join me in donating to the church in Iraq? Even if it’s $5. $3. Anything. We need to support them now. Right now. Click here to donate.