Day 20: 3-Year-Old Theology

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In the car the other day, Libbie pointed out a cross on a church building. This is nothing new; she likes to bring attention to the cross on our church every time we pull in the parking lot.

But this time, in her little almost-4 voice, she asked me from the backseat:

“If kids obey their mommies, does Jesus still have to die on the cross?”

Oh, child. I didn’t know until recently that I needed a degree in theology to be a Christian parent. (Have I told you about her obsession with where David was before he was born?)

I tried to explain that yes, Jesus needed to die for every sin, and it has already happened, a long time ago.

“Like when I was a baby?”

Much, much longer. Before Mommy was even born. Because you know that is a LONG time.

Then she went through a list of what constitutes sin in her mind. Hitting a brother? Bonking him into something? Yelling at mommy? Did Jesus die for these things?

Yes, baby.

Some days I feel like I am guilting her into obedience, pulling the “Jesus doesn’t like that” card for my convenience. It’s difficult to parent, and even more so to teach about sin and love and grace without teaching legalism.

But Jesus died for my sin, too. For the times I am so impatient I storm to my room like I am the 3-year-old. For the times I cry because I am so relieved to have a few hours to myself when they are in school. For the times I snap and say all the wrong things and dishonor my husband and don’t show anyone even a little bit of God in me.

From the foundation of the world, Jesus planned to die. It was always God’s plan (Rev. 13:8). Sin was not a surprise.

So, for my sweet baby girl and anyone else who needs to know: no matter what, Jesus still had to die. But He did it for you. He wants you that badly. He loves you that much. His grace is that abundant. Nothing you could ever do would change His mind.

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One thought on “Day 20: 3-Year-Old Theology

  1. You are doing a great job. When your child asks deep theological questions at not even four you are doing something right. Praise God!!! You don’t need a theological degree just be honest with her.

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