My kids were asking me questions about some families they know. We were/are hunting for someone to come stay with them for a week, and it is not looking good. So I suggested one older couple, grandparents to a friend of theirs. The kids wondered why the last name was different.
I decided to answer honestly. After all, they are getting older. This child has a different last name and a different daddy because he was born before marriage. I explained that people sometimes make choices that were not the best, but that I know his mother and I know that she has dealt with anything with God years ago, and she deeply loves God and He loves her. The kid is loved by us all. They know he goes back and forth between homes, and they know the other kids in the family don't. There is a time for honestly.
So they asked about a different family with a mix up in names. No, that one is different. That is the result of a divorce and then a remarriage. Simple explanation.
I believe, now that they are older, in speaking the truth to my kids. I also believe in grace and forgiveness. I want to be the one who explains these concepts to them simply and easily. Yes, they are things we don't want to face. But it is not the end of the world. There is grace. I want my kids to know that no matter how badly they mess up, they haven't run so far that they are out of God's loving welcome.
Trying to communicate a healthy fear of sin and a healthy realization of grace. Both are needed.
My daughter thought about it for awhile. Then she showed her wisdom, her simple wisdom.
"So mommy, it is like if you take two pieces of construction paper, like one pink and one blue, and you rip them each in two. Then you try to stick two halves together so you have a half pink and half blue paper. That is what those families are like."
Yup. That is it. That, and well loved by a God who both mourned the ripping and still delights in His children even when there has been damage and pain in their lives.
I want my kids to know about God's love. I grew up in a "sin one of these big sins and you're out" type of religion. I want them to know that they live as damaged people in a damaged world and the reason God came into this world was to interact with damaged people and spoil them with His lavish grace, not to judge them and proclaim them fit only to be second class Christians.
And I want them to have a healthy fear of sin.
I want them to know God - in all of who He is - holy, merciful, just, full of grace, loving,.... there is so much to tell them....
I want them to know that the Creator of the world sings over them in His love. Even when they mess up.