Recent surveys testify to the declining place of religion in America. More than a third of respondents to one study do not claim any religious affiliation. Only 45 percent report daily prayers. Chances are that children are increasingly missing out on Bible stories and religious instruction that shape their behavior and lives. Below, we explain four reasons that children and youth need to learn about the Christian faith.

How to Treat God and Others

You rightly associate “The Ten Commandments” as essential and enduring moral principles for children. Clearly, it directs the young and old alike to place God first, use his name with reverence, and not worship other things. Through these commandments, we’re taught from our childhood to tell the truth, not kill others, respect parents, and not envy others.

Throughout the Bible, children learn many lessons on how to treat God and others. For example:

  • Love God with all of you, and love others (Luke 10:27)
  • Do not seek revenge when someone hurts you (Romans 12:17-21)
  • Avoid being selfish, and help others (Philippians 2:4; Proverbs 19:17; Acts 20:35)
  • Do not bully, make fun of, or gossip about others in school, church, or elsewhere (Ephesians 4:29)

A Proper View of Self

In these modern times, social media, the Internet, television, and magazines bombard our young people with often unhealthy images of beauty and worth. Through media and negative “peer pressure,” children and teens seek acceptance through things that can leave lasting harm.

Drug and alcohol use, immorality, and other harmful behaviors in the name of “fitting in” can lead our young to poor grades, criminal records, cheating, and even physical and mental health problems. A study by the Centers for Disease Control for the period 2016 to 2019 revealed that 5.5 million children from three to 17 years old experienced behavioral problems, and another 2.7 million suffered depression.

Through Godly guidance by churches, parents, and peers, children, and teens grasp that God loves them, accepts them, and treats them as having “sacred worth.” Imagine your children hearing that they are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:13-14). Throughout scripture, God declares that He loves all of us. None of us need harmful, destructive behaviors to get acceptance.

Understanding What and Why We Believe

Without teaching the fundamentals of the faith, children and youth become easily swayed. Popular culture either denies the existence of God or that all paths lead to God or eternal life. Yes, Lutherans are called to love and respect all of God’s creation. However, the Lutheran Church accepts and teaches that salvation, or justification, is by God’s grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone, and is revealed only by the Bible.

Lutheranism developed from the protest of Martin Luther, a 16th-Century Catholic monk. He criticized the Catholic Church’s practice of selling forgiveness in the form of “indulgences.” For Luther, a person was justified not by performing good works or purchasing salvation, but solely by faith in Jesus Christ. Out of Luther’s teachings came the Protestant Reformation. Today, a reported 66 million people worldwide identify themselves as Lutheran.

Delivering Hope

Youth does not immunize children and teens from bad things. Their questions about crime, war, and poverty need not be dismissed.

Part of the answer lies in the presence of sin in the world. Certain people exercise their free will for evil purposes or with tragic results. The Christian faith teaches that Jesus will return in final victory and good always prevails over evil. Through religion, youth can learn to be the hands and feet of Christ to help provide food, clothing, shelter, and other assistance to those in need.

Teaching children and teens about God and Christianity happens in churches, homes, and through encounters with those in the world. The benefits help even the youngest among us develop important life habits and cope with the challenges of living in this modern world.

By Anita Ginsburg

Anita is a freelance writer from Denver, CO. She studied at Colorado State University, and now writes articles about health, business, family and finance. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family whenever she isn't writing.

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