We Have to Stop Using Guilt to Lead Our Kids to God

I was talking to a friend who, although raised in the church, is pretty antagonistic toward Christianity. He was talking about his childhood and how Sunday school and VBS constantly beat into his head his personal responsibility for Christ’s death.

Not in the “Christ died for your sins” vein, but more like, “It was your sins that drove the spikes into Jesus’ hands and feet.” The way his parents and church hammered (no pun intended) into him his personal responsibility, made him feel mortifying shame.

kid bible 2

It worked, he was a devout little kid. But he wasn’t propelled out of a sense of gratitude or wonder. No — his driving motivation for being good was humiliation.

As he got older, he walked away from the whole thing. I know so many people who have had the same experience. When they get older, their guilt turns into anger and frustration.

I ‘d seen the same things laid on kids in churches I’ve attended, and it breaks my heart. To a little kid, there’s a huge difference between “Christ died for our sins” and “your sins made Christ die.” It may be subtle, but it’s there.


Have others experienced this?

So I asked on Twitter if others had this same experience growing up:

[Here are] some of the responses:

Jayson Bradley
Jayson Bradleyhttp://jaysondbradley.com
Jayson Bradley is a pastor whose heart aches for those feeling unwelcomed by the church. He longs to create a dialogue that enables them to be heard and loved while gently guiding the church into a place where she can be more compassionate, kind, and empathetic. You can read more from Jayson at jaysondbradley.com.  

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