The beauty of life in America today is seeing faces from all over the world right around you. You can walk into an elementary school and hear chattering in Somali or stroll downtown Minneapolis and sample food from an Ethiopian restaurant owner. You can meet someone from Thailand at the post office–I did just the other day!–and buy a brightly colored basket from a Ghanaian at the farmer’s market.
Living in something other than a monochromatic world reflects the beauty of God’s big wide world.
Along with the variety of customs and cultures though comes different faiths. Every person of faith sincerely believes his or her faith is the right way to God.
Negotiating that complexity with kids can be tricky. You don’t want to put down their math teacher who’s a Hindu or their neighborhood buddy whose family worships at the mosque. But you also want your kids to affirm that Jesus is who he says he is and encourage kids to share the good news of Jesus, the only way.
How do you do that? Here are a few talking points for your family.
Family Talking Points
ONE small but important word
- What word is repeated four times in the verse above (John 14:6)?
- If you traded that word for the word “a”, how would the meaning of the verse change?
If the verse had read, “Jesus is a way” that would open the door to different ways to God. God’s Word says Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, and we don’t have to apologize about the fact Jesus is the only way.
Parent tip: For young children, read the questions above but give them the answer yourself. For older kids, help them discover the difference between “the” and “a” on their own.
TWO short stories
First short story: Eight-year-old Ethan reached under his bed for his treasure box. He’d never shown anyone what was inside. But his new best friend, Christopher, was different.
Christopher crowded close. “What’s in the box?” he asked.
“I’ll show you. But first I have to unlock it. This is the only key.” Ethan pulled a small key out of his top drawer, poked it inside the keyhole and turned. The lid opened. Inside lay his favorite treasures: ten baseball cards, four smooth stones from his cabin up north, and five shiny dollar coins his great grandpa had given him.
What was the only way to get into the treasure box? Who was the only one who had the key?
Second short story: Sadie had just gotten her driver’s license and was getting ready to drive her brother Jason to school for the very first time. Her mom was giving her strict instructions—buckle up, don’t speed, pay attention.
“Hey, Mom, I got this okay? It’ll be fine. Promise,” said Sadie.
She turned to head out the door and her mom added, “Oh, and before I forget. The only way to get to school is taking Hwy 42. The other road is closed for construction.”
I do need to know that, thought Sadie. “Thanks, Mom.”
If there was only one way to get to school would it have been okay for her mom to tell Sadie there was another way?
Take away: Jesus is the only way to God; he is God. Telling people there’s more than one way when there isn’t, isn’t loving at all. Keeping them from knowing what’s really true would just be selfish. The truth about Jesus sets people free and gives them life. How can we keep that to ourselves?
THREE truths to keep in mind when you share the good news
#1 You can disagree with someone and still accept him or her.
Can you think of an everyday example?
#2 Standing up for what’s true doesn’t automatically mean you’re putting down someone.
Example: In Sadie’s story above, her mom wasn’t putting anyone or anything down by saying that the only way to school was Hwy 42; she was stating a fact.
#3 How you share the truth matters; the way you do it can be respectful or mean.
Be kind and gentle and clear when you share the good news that Jesus is the only way.