By Melissa Deming, freelance writer and mom serving at Living Faith Community Church, Pittsburgh, PA
Little Red Riding Hood is one fairy tale I skip over in our big fairy tale book.
When they were smaller, my children were terrified of a big bad wolf dressed in sheepskin clothing stalking a little girl in order to eat her for dinner. And don’t get me started on the witches, evil queens, and talking mirrors.
And while the Bible is certainly no fairytale, I’ve discovered than when it comes to teaching my children the story of Scripture I have the same tendency to sidestep its darker accounts of murder and adultery.
As a church culture, we do the same. When was the last time you taught a preschool Sunday School lesson on Tamar or David and Bathsheba? What about Hosea?
As a church, we tend to shy away from biblical accounts with mature themes as well as lesser known books of the Bible. But when we hold back from teaching a particular book and stick to easier themes or topics, we miss an important opportunity to grow newer generations of the body of Christ as grounded and mature disciples.
Here’s why it’s important to teach our kids the whole story of Scripture – even the big bad scary parts.
Teaching kids the whole story of Scripture communicates that ALL of the Bible is important and relevant to everyday life.
When we avoid teaching from the more difficult parts of the Pentateuch or the Prophets, we reveal a belief that certain parts of the Scriptures are more important than others. However, the Old Testament was Jesus’ Bible. When the disciples quoted Scripture to the church, they pulled from the Prophets and the Psalms. They were saturated not only is its narrative, but in the meaning behind its stories.
To be faithful to the whole story of Scripture, we must teach our children all of it. That doesn’t mean our children must know all the dirty details regarding the epic failures of our biblical patriarchs.
But in teaching these stories to our children, we should emphasize the overarching principles behind them. Namely, that sin leads us down destructive paths while God’s covenant love relentlessly pursues us in the midst of our mistakes and sins.