I’m amazed at the conversations that spring out of the questions of a three year old mind. Story time with Macey has become much more complex in the last few months. She is always analyzing the stories we read and asking lots of questions. Some of that is because she wants to delay bed time, but most of it is because her inquiring mind wants to know.
One of the things we’ve decided is that we don’t want to tell her there are bad people. That sure would be the easy answer at times as it would bring an end to the probing quesitons. “Yes Macey, there are bad people in the world, and you need to stay away from them or they’ll hurt you…good night and sweet dreams, dumpling!”
The point is not that we want to shelter her from the harsh realities of this world. Instead, we tell her that there are people who make bad choices. That inevitably leads to a series of question about why people choose to do the things they do. I’m amazed at how often the answer boils down to fear — especially fear of those who are different from us.
Too much of the Christian message over the years has been to fear those who are different. Stay away from those who are unsafe or who aren’t like you…they are bad people. That is a Christian message that has been corrupted by fear. Ironically, it calls people to the same root of the behavior that they are challenged to stay away from.
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. – 1 John 4:18