God gives us doorways through which we may enter into a story…His story.
These take us beyond simple entertainment to understanding truth, and they work with any tale. They work very well with the Bible’s accounts of Jesus’ life and also the parables he told.
If you are using Bible passages to help your family understand forgiveness, consider using these three keys to open the doorways to truth: engage, explore, experience. Let me elaborate a bit:
- The most common way to engage a story is to read or tell it. If it is a Bible passage, please use a version that all family members can easily understand. A well-read story does amazing things towards lodging truth in hearts. But you’ll want to go beyond this to
- 2. Exploring the text. This may involve clearing up anything that hinders understanding. Let children challenge words or phrases that are not clear to them. Let them help explore what happened before and after the passage you’ve chosen and talk about anything that deals with context. Most pasages are like gems that depend on their setting to be fully understood and appreciated.
- Experience: Webster’s definition: participation in events leading to understanding; something lived through. The question is, what are good ways to get your family members to place themselves in the story or passage you’ve chosen? To get inside the action?
One of the greatest ways to do this (and often most frequently overlooked) is to set your kids (and yourselves) free to use the creative energy they prefer with their five senses, or at least the ones of the five that appropriately unpack meaning from text or narrative. We’ve become so dependent on media and film that we forget how wonderful it is when we bring ourselves, our giftings, our learning preferences, our interests at the time to make the passage or story come alive.
I can hear you saying, “But this requires time and even skills I don’t have.” I will concede it takes more time than one often devotes to the family hour, but it does not require any special or difficult-to-learn skill. It simply requires a willingness to take virtual journeys (something we understand in our present culture, right?) without complicated equipment or props, right into the heart of God’s Word – to experience His love. Better to ‘camp’ on a story or passage until something of its essence is securely lodged in kids’ hearts and lives, than to run past it without taking enough time to hear God speak.
For instance, if I were to read the story of how Jesus took children up on his lap and blessed them, I’d ask the listener to close her eyes and imagine she was sitting on Jesus lap, instead of mine. I’d ask her to pay attention to how she felt. Safe? I’d ask what she heard, what she saw and smelled. And then, together we’d pray a prayer of thanksgiving, maybe even referring to Jesus as our Good Shepherd, a concept the child might understand from a previous experience.
If you’re already doing this with your kids, why not share something of your experiences? Thanks.