Apr 15, 2021

Hard, Hard, Hard Questions You Need to Answer

Did you know Brad Pitt was raised in a conservative Christian home? He attended church faithfully with his family.  

When he entered his teenage years, he started having doubts and started asking the hard questions.  

Unfortunately, no one took time to answer his questions.  As he moved into his young adult years, he began to lose faith.  Eventually, he became an agnostic.  

His story could be told countless times.  A child has doubts and starts asking the hard questions.  No one works with the child to help him or her find the answers they are searching for.  Eventually, the child walks away from the faith.  

Kids want to talk about the hard questions.  Many of them are already struggling to make sense of everything and are looking for answers.  

The temptation is to give quick answers to these questions instead of taking time to sit down with the child and finding the answers together.  We must prepare them to answer common challenges and speak intelligently about the faith.

We cannot leave kids spiritually defenseless and then just hope they will grow up to follow Jesus.
By the way, it's okay to say "I don't know."  But don't stop there. Say, "I don't know, but let's work together to find the answers."

The Bible says this in I Peter 3:15.

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.

Our role is to equip children so they can know why they believe what they believe.  

And kids are looking for this.  Did you know that... 

  • 13% of Gen Z kids say they are atheists? 
  • 37% of Gen Z kids say you can't know for sure if God is real?
  • 58% of Gen Z kids say there is more than one way to God?
  • 46% of Gen Z kids say they need factual evidence to support their beliefs.                                                
  • 49% of Gen Z kids say the church seems to reject much of what science tells us about the world.                                                                                                                                     
  • 27% of Gen Z kids say the church is not a safe place to express doubts.                                   
  • 24% of Gen Z kids say the teaching they are exposed to is shallow.

If a child cannot defend their faith, there's a strong probability that they will walk away from their faith.

What should you do when a young person brings up the hard questions?

Don't overreact.  Many adults are caught off guard when kids ask the hard questions.  They don't know what to do and so they respond with anger, frustration or surprise. This leaves the child feeling like they have done something wrong or don't really know Jesus. 

Commend them.   Let the child know you are proud of him or her for thinking about and asking hard questions. The fact that the child is trying to understand these deeper aspects of faith is commendable. Let the child know asking the hard questions is a natural part of the faith journey. Remind them that even Jesus asked why God had forsaken Him when He was on the cross.

Help them grapple with the questions and find the answers together. This is a great discipleship opportunity to help kids dig in and find the answers for why they believe what they believe. Take their questions and grapple with them to find the answers. You want kids to find the correct answers now rather than waiting until they are sitting in a college classroom or dorm where they may get wrong answers that shake their faith. 

And think about this with me.  I believe that we should take the initiative and bring up the hard questions.  Be proactive.  We should be on the offense not just on the defense when it comes to matters of faith. 

Here are a few of the questions you can ask if you are ready to help kids find the answers. 

Why does a good God allow suffering, pain and death?

Why would God send someone to burn forever?  Isn't that too harsh?

How do we know the Bible is true?

What about someone who never heard the name of Jesus?  Will they be sent to hell?

Why did God allow evil to become part of our lives here on earth?

Why would God allow an innocent, young child to get cancer when there are drug addicts, murderers and other criminals who don't get cancer?

Again, be proactive.  Don't wait for them to bring up the questions.  Take the initiative and bring up the hard questions to them Be age-appropriate.  Some of these should be addressed when kids are grade 4 and older.

I created a teaching series that brings up the hard questions and helps kids answer those questions.  The series is called Pranksters.  You can get more info. and see sample videos, lessons, etc. at this link.

I can't emphasize enough how important it is to help kids work through the hard questions.  We must help kids understand why they believe what they believe and help them have a solid foundation that will enable them follow Jesus for a lifetime. 

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