Teaching about sin can be challenging. Children’s ministers and Sunday school teachers don’t like to think of kids as sinners. We do what we do because we love children. We love their hunger and “innocence.“
If we’re honest, however, we’ll admit we tend to think of some students as either good or bad. Some obey the rules, while others constantly challenge the boundaries.
Both the compliant and the rebellious children are lost without Christ.
We reward kids who demonstrate good behavior and punish the bad ones. Yet during his earthly ministry, Jesus went out of the way to spend time with the “bad kids.”
Teaching About Sin: Why It Matters
Many kids who grow up in church end up leaving because they feel like they can never measure up. When someone says they left church for that reason, it tells me they don’t understand sin. Or they haven’t experienced God’s grace. Or both.
Some young adults leave church because it has “too many hypocrites.” They’re saying churches are full of people who don’t measure up, which also is true. None of us measures up. We all sin and fall short of the glory of God (see Romans 3:23).
Some churches talk too much to kids about sin. But it’s usually designed to get kids to change their behavior. Big mistake! The point of teaching about sin isn’t to get children to change. It’s to lead them to Christ and let the Holy Spirit change them.
Some churches don’t talk to kids about sin at all. They talk about good virtues and obeying their parents. But this can imply that kids can be good without Christ.
My sin nailed Jesus to the cross. If I don’t understand why Jesus paid this price, I won’t experience God’s grace. In other words, teaching about sin is the only way to understand grace.