This is an article that most families would never have had to read when I was a child. Today, the amount of attacks in numerous countries has brought terrorist activity to the forefront. Knowing how to talk to your children about these events can help to build a foundation of peace in their lives. What follows are some talking points in a broad outline which you can use to address this topic in an age appropriate way.
- In this world, there are some people who are committed to evil. Raising children in a church environment, this may be hard for them to grasp at first. But just as the devil is committed to fighting God’s work in every way possible, so there are some human beings who have aligned themselves with him to fight what is good, right and holy in this world. Proverbs describes them as people who can’t sleep until they have done some evil.
- The government is responsible for helping to keep its citizens safe. Sometimes they fail. Every government strives to maintain some level of security in its country. Spies, police, and other workers may do their best to track and arrest people who are terrorists, but they cannot guarantee that they will never fail. You may also want to discuss with older children the importance of voting for people who are committed to the safety of your city, state and country.
- As Christians, we pray for the safety of our family, our church, the law enforcement in our community, and our country in general. First of all, do it. Take time to pray with your children audibly and let them hear you pray for their safety. Then pray for the safety of your church family. Pray against attacks on your local church. Pray for the safety of the police officers and the military who risk their lives to protect our country. Then pray for the country you live in. Pray for your leaders to seek God’s wisdom and to govern in the fear of God. Pray for reconciliation in relationships. Pray for the Holy Spirit to be unleashed in order to bring about repentance and righteousness.
- As Christians, we are also told to pray for those who hate us and mistreat us. Again: do it. Take time to pray for Islamic terrorists. Pray for the gospel of Christ to reach the Islamic world. There are missionaries and native workers all over the Muslim world evangelizing at the risk of their lives; pray for their witness to be effective and that millions would turn to Jesus Christ. Pray also for the leaders in these countries to have dreams and visions of Jesus Christ.
- As your parent, you need to know I will do everything possible to protect you. If you have a plan of defense for your home or when you are on the road or in public, describe to your children how you would protect them. Give them some type of insight into how you have already planned ahead. If you don’t, then start planning. But assure your children that if their safety is on the line, you would fight anyone necessary to protect them. This is a good time to talk about God’s sacrificial love as well.
- If you are ever in a dangerous situation, do not be afraid to cry out the name of Jesus. He is a miracle working savior. People get frozen in fear during dangerous situations. We know the Ruler of the universe. Teach your children to call out the name of Jesus. There is power in His name. Find stories in books or online that describe how people have been saved through calling out His name. Share them with your children. Build up their faith. This is key for helping to bring about peace in their minds and hearts.
- You have a God-given right to fight to defend yourself and your family. Sadly, I’ve read several stories in the past few years of children who had to use a weapon to defend themselves or their family. The good news is, I didn’t read a story about the children dying at the hands of a killer or a home intruder. Parents and grandparents spent some time teaching those children the responsible use of weapons and training them how to use them. Soldiers talk about how in a crisis, their training takes over. A little training with your children on how to effectively defend themselves could save their lives — or yours.
- If any of us die believing in Jesus Christ, we KNOW that we will meet again. Paul says in Thessalonians that we do not sorrow as those who have no hope. If you were to die defending your family or someone else, you want to have already instilled in your children the truth that God is real and heaven is real. They need to know that if Daddy or Mommy do die — or if a sibling dies, you can all meet again in God’s presence. Talk about heaven. We used to sing about it more in churches, but you can still control what you talk about in your family.
- We live our lives in that confidence, not in fear. For terrorists to win, they have to get people to live in fear. They have to alter the workings of society to the point that it changes drastically. That isn’t to say that our country doesn’t need more vigilance. We do. But we can live in an awareness that still is permeated by the peace and presence of God. That comes from knowing Him, talking to Him throughout the day and trusting Him to be our source of protection, our shield.
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