Using a Bad Day to Point Your Child to the Gospel

bad day point to the gospel

It was one of those nights. The ones where the clock ticking down to bedtime couldn’t possibly move any slower. It had been a rough day. K had been particularly… well.. three years old. We’d been struggling with disobedience, stubbornness, angry outbursts, mischievousness, and lack of self-control all. day. long. Typically on nights like this I’m ashamed to admit I normally speed through the bed time routine in record time and then crash on the couch. Teeth, potty, jammies, prayers, kiss, hug, lights out – done.

However, for some reason this night something stirred in my heart and I decided to slow down. I tucked K in and smiled at him.

“We had a rough day today didn’t we?” I said.

It took maybe all of five minutes, but the conversation that followed brought about more fruit than a quick kiss and “I love you” ever could.

We talked about how he had made a lot of bad choices that day. He didn’t do a very good job obeying and he wasn’t very nice. Then, I said something that surprised him a little. I told him that mommy and daddy make bad choices too. He wanted to know what kind, so we talked about that for a little while. Then I told him that everybody does bad things, that’s why we need Jesus. I told him that God is the only one who never does anything wrong. God only does good things.

He thought that was pretty cool.

I told him that we can only be with God if we do good things too. If we do bad things, we can’t be with God, because He is good. Then I told him the good news. Jesus came to be good for us, so we can be with God. Jesus saves us.

We ended our short discussion by deciding to try again tomorrow to make good choices and be nice, because that’s what Jesus would want us to do. Then finally the kisses and hugs and goodnights. I came downstairs feeling at peace, instead of drained from the day’s struggles.

The gospel was something both of us needed to hear.

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How much did my son, a little three year old, retain or even understand from that conversation? I don’t know. However, what I do know is that a seed has been planted. A seed that will continue to be cared for until it grows to fruition.

Later that night as I lay in bed I told my husband about our conversation. He said that earlier in the day he, too, had a similar talk. K had run out into the road to get a ball even after being told to stop. There was a car coming (slowly, thankfully) and my husband had to run and grab K. Somehow their discipline conversation moved to talking about how Jesus saves us, just like daddy saved K from the road. When I had my conversation with K, he mentioned how daddy saved him when I was talking about Jesus saving him. Even though I didn’t know what he was talking about he had remembered the earlier talk and connected the dots.

They remember more than we think sometimes.

In our goals of raising kind, obedient, and thoughtful children we must not forget the bigger picture. We are all sinners in need of a Savior. Even our kids. No amount of training is going to change that. Let us never cease in pointing them towards our Hope.

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What tips do you have for sharing the gospel with your children? Share them in the comments. 

10 Comments

  1. Andrea || Mitchael Journey on February 17, 2015 at 9:07 pm

    So true, simple and SO profound. We have a tremendous opportunity in our homes. wow. I look forward to more conversations like yours in the days ahead — even if it is proceeded by a rough day. Thank you for sharing this personal account of truth and the gospel! Many blessings on you and your parenting, Liz! I’m so glad you linked up with Tuesday Talk 🙂
    ~Andrea

    • Liz Millay on February 17, 2015 at 10:52 pm

      Thank you for the kind words! I’m glad I found Tuesday Talk 🙂

  2. Todd on February 20, 2015 at 7:44 pm

    Such a heart warming story to see a young mind at work trying to find his place in a big world…He is blessed with great parents

  3. Weekend Links - Intentional By Grace on February 28, 2015 at 8:00 am

    […] Using a Bad Day to Point your Child to the Gospel @ Simple Life Messy Life […]

  4. […] You can find an example of one of those discussions here. […]

  5. […] Using a Bad Day to Point Your Child to the Gospel […]

  6. […] You can read more about one of our conversations here. […]

  7. […] found myself dragging my feet when it comes to covering the story with my son. Sure, we talk about the gospel routinely, but there is something about Easter and the nitty gritty aspects of the story that gives […]

  8. […] I am often reminding my son during these moments that God is the only one who does only good and that is why we need Jesus. […]

  9. Angela on March 29, 2017 at 2:47 am

    “I told him that we can only be with God if we do good things too. If we do bad things, we can’t be with God, because He is good. Then I told him the good news. Jesus came to be good for us, so we can be with God. Jesus saves us.”

    I love how simple and accurate this explanation is! Super helpful to me as I begin having these conversations with my 2.5 year old. Thank you for sharing!

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