Last night after I put the kids to bed, I had just begun a phone conversation with a friend when Justin began to wail. Immediately, as I walked into the room, Peter, his older brother, began his defense. The defense was pretty weak and it was obvious that Peter had sinned against his brother by whipping a hard, plastic toy at his face. So, I spent some alone time with Peter, explaining to him why his choice was sinful and administering some needed discipline.
Afterward, I took the opportunity to share with Peter the blessings of the gospel. I told him that the good news of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection is for sinners like us, but we have to run away from sin and run to Jesus as our only hope for rescue. Then, as I began to tell him about the promise of heaven for believers, Peter asked a question he had never asked before: “Daddy, will we be in heaven together?” As a father, this question melted my heart. My son wants to be with me forever! As much as he disobeys and pitches a fit when I tell it’s time for bed, he really does love me! I wanted to bask in the light of this question and say something like, “Oh buddy, your daddy will always be with you” as I tearfully wrap him up in a big bear hug, but that would’ve been confusing, misleading, and unhelpful. This was an opportunity to tell my son the truth and point him to the One he needs so much more than me.
I explained to Peter, again, that heaven is promised to those who come to Jesus believing that he died for the forgiveness of their sins. “So then”, I said, “if you trust in Jesus to save you, you will be in heaven with Daddy some day.” While true, these words were insufficient, so I went on. “But I’m not the one who makes heaven great”, I said, “in heaven the one you will be most excited about will be Jesus because he is the Savior and the one who loves you more than I ever could… Jesus is the reason heaven is such an awesome place.”
Parents, take advantage of moments when you can show your children that Jesus is better… that his love is a thousand times stronger than yours on your best day. As much as we may want our children to love us, they need to see Jesus as more lovely.