Thursday, November 29, 2012

Intellect vs. Heart Part One

I have not had much time for blogging lately. The older my children get the more time I seem to spend in the car taking them to and from band or to and from baseball practice. So, my time at home is spent schooling, cleaning, or cooking. (and with the gluten free needs in our home, I spend even more time in the kitchen than before ... and that's hard for anyone to believe!)

I have been dealing with an issue over the last few months, though, that I want to address. The topic is salvation. The person is Martin. About 3 years ago, Martin spent an entire day wrestling over salvation and God giving him a new heart. He spent the day asking questions and mulling over Jesus and His perfection and even started crying at one point telling me that he wished that he could be like Jesus ... because Jesus never sinned. He seemed to be so keenly aware of the sin in his life that he knew he wasn't able to obtain perfection and needed to be saved. So, that night before he went to bed, he prayed a beautiful prayer and asked God for a new heart. I wrote down every detail of that entire day, so that I could remember the beautiful innocence of it and the prayer that came out of his mouth when he asked for a new heart.
2 things:
1. Rich and I have made it our policy to flood our children with the truth of God's Word. 
2.We have a strict NO COERCING policy when it comes to salvation. So, we teach, but don't push or ask them if they want to be saved. We want them to come to us, and seek out salvation on their own. We have the same philosophy about Baptism. We want it to be their idea ... not something that we suggest.

That is exactly what happened that day. Martin kept seeking me out with many questions all throughout the day. I answered thoroughly and would move on to whatever else I was doing. He kept coming back and asking more. It seemed real and genuine and everything we had hoped it would be. 

I'll admit it. I am a skeptic when it comes to young children and salvation.  I was a young child of only 7 years old when I was saved, and I was saved after hearing the gospel for the very first time. I never doubted my own salvation. I knew that it was very real for a couple of reasons. I never forgot the moment that I made the decision, and from the moment that I was saved I became a new person. I immediately knew that my life was forever changed by God's mercy and grace. I knew that I should be reading my Bible and praying every day. And I did. I didn't have to be reminded or told to do those things. I wanted to do those things. At the time I was saved, we didn't go to church regularly and we were getting ready to move to Iceland. We didn't go to church while we lived in Iceland, but even without a church, I knew that I needed to have a relationship with a loving God. So, even though my own experience was as a young child, when it came to my own children I still remained skeptical. (my experience is that I can get my child to agree to just about anything I say to them ... which is another reason we have a no coercion policy!)
Back to Martin ... after Martin asked for a new heart ... nothing really changed. I didn't see real fruit in his life. I began to doubt whether or not his life had really changed. I doubted whether or not he really understood what salvation was all about. 
Fast forward to today ... 
Martin is now 10 years old and has no recollection of that day that he asked for a new heart.  I even let him read my detailed account of that day ... even the words he prayed ... and he has no memory of it whatsoever!
It is as if it never happened.
As a fairly intellectual 10 year old boy with no memory of what I thought was his salvation experience, he was struggling each and every day with deep philosophical questions on the existence of God. For the past 3 months we have been having exhausting philosophical conversations that sometimes felt as though they were leading nowhere. 
So, what do you when you have a child who is clearly seeking, exploring, and even disputing some of the truth that you have been speaking into his life?
To be continued...

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