This morning, while we laid in bed, and started the day with our six year old, we saw the news. So did he. His face looked puzzled and he turned to us and asked us why someone would hurt so many people. Did they hurt him? Was he sad? Was he sick?
We didn’t have the answers for him, and it would have been much easier to redirect him. Most of the time we try to shelter our children from the atrocities occuring around the world, but not today. This was the perfect opportunity to talk about loving others, praying for those affected and the person who did the hurting.
Over and over the Bible tells us to love our enemies, to pray for those who persecute us, to provide for them if they are in need. This is such a difficult concept. Even as an adult, I don’t typically think about praying for the people who hurt me, who hurt us, who hurt others. How do we teach this concept to our children, when it’s a concept that we fail at daily?
My words to our son were that God loves us all, no matter how great our sins. That we aren’t meant to always understand why things happen. That the most important thing that we can do, especially when we don’t understand, is to pray and to pray hard. I encouraged him to leave his heart and prayers open for God to guide (big concept for a little guy, but I think he got it).
What’s equally important though, is for my husband and I to lead by example, to pray out loud for those who hurt us. Our children are always watching us and leaving our hearts and prayers open for God to guide, especially in moments where we don’t understand, will show them how to do the same.
So, tonight and in the coming days, we will pray with our children for those around the world who are affected by their enemies and we will pray for their enemies as God guides us too.