The Truth in Love
Teaching Children Kindness in a Culture of Confusion
by Joan C. Benson and Marjorie Wingert
In a world where we’re told right is wrong and wrong is right, we want our children to stand for God’s ways yet respond to unbiblical ideologies with kindness. Where controversial issues such as gender identity are introduced to our children, how can we teach them to respond with respect?
Realizing the risks of being called intolerant or hateful, we don’t want our little ones to be so accused. Yet in accord with Scripture, we pray they will stand up for God’s Word while responding with kindness to people who disagree.
Webster defines truth as “real things, events and facts,” but Christians also define truth as God’s Word revealed through Scripture. Without it, truth cannot be separated from lies. Scripture is the spiritual armor that protects our children’s minds and hearts from anti-biblical influences. For this reason, our children need to be taught Bible concepts early so they might stand strong against all deceit. “From infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 3:15, NIV).”
Truth in Love
In Ephesians 4:15, we are told to speak truth in love. How do we convey truth in love to our children? Even adults wrestle with being kind when confronted with opposing controversial views. Truth without love is judgmental and harsh.
Since this can be a difficult task, how do we teach our young ones to stand for truth without dissension or disrespect? In 1 Corinthians 13, God provides the answer. Love is defined as patient and kind. It is not envious, boastful, proud or dishonoring of others. It is not self-seeking, easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs, nor delights in evil. It always protects, trusts, hopes, perseveres and rejoices in the truth. Love never fails.
In this way, we must show our kids how to communicate their beliefs without pride, arrogance or boasting. Instead, we encourage our kids to love their friends as themselves. We demonstrate kindness and patience when others do not agree. We explain how God loved the whole world so much that He gave His only Son to have a relationship with us.
Furthermore, we can assist our kids by preparing them to give an answer when confronted with opposing ideologies. 1 Peter 3:15 tells us to be ready to give an answer when asked. It goes on to clarify how our response should be given with gentleness and respect. Does this mean we trumpet beliefs to beat faith into someone? No. Truth in love means to communicate with kindness, respect and love in a fashion that honors others. Preparing children to give an answer in advance helps them understand what they believe and how to communicate it in a way others can best receive it.
Do Not Fear
An essential part of knowing God’s truth is learning to speak into cultural conversations. Silence suffocates our consciences, fosters vulnerability and compromises truth. As parents, we should not fear speaking truth into the lives of our community, workplaces and schools, but particularly into the lives of our children. Demonstrate for your children how to speak truth in love with love.
In an age of deception, teaching God’s truth through His Word equips our youngest with God’s holy armor and builds a firm foundation beneath their feet. Without it, our children are left vulnerable to the prevailing winds of our day.
Our job as parents is challenging, yet simple. First, we are to teach God’s Word as the firm foundation. Then our kids must learn how to give an answer to those who oppose Scripture. We must model how to speak truth in love without judgment.
Jesus demonstrated truth in love with perfection. He epitomized love and compassion to the lost and hurt without ever compromising truth. We should do the same. Let us teach our kids truth in love with love so they may shine as lights to the world.
Joan C. Benson is an educator, author and inspirational speaker. Joan’s debut historical fiction, His Gift, was published by Elk Lake Publishing in 2020. More recently, Joan co-authored four children’s picture books to teach children God’s truths in whimsical verse. God’s ABCs is the first one published in March 2023. Learn more at joancbenson.com.
Marjorie Wingert’s mantra is walking by faith, not by sight, whether through encouraging parents, equipping women or connecting children through her writing, music or speaking. She is the founder of Women Victorious speaking ministries. Marjorie is a wife and mom to a vivacious third-grader. Connect with her at marjoriewingert.com.