In a recent radio program called “Introducing Your Child To God,” brought to you by the FamilyLife organization, co-host Bob Lepine explained the importance of talking to babies about the evil and wickedness that dwell within them.
When my daughter, Amy, was still less than two years old, I started teaching practical theology to her. I used to put her on my lap — in fact … I think she was still less than a year old. I used to have her on my lap, and she’d be all cute and cuddly, you know? She’d be coo-ing up at me. I’d look down at her and I’d say: “You know what? You’re a wicked sinner. Yes, you are. Yes, you are. You’re a wicked sinner.” I was just trying to make sure she understood, from the beginning, her depraved nature.
Lepine understands that outsiders may see chastising infants as distasteful, even harmful, but he’s unfazed.
It sounds cruel, doesn’t it? But the reality is — if she was going to understand who God is, she has to first understand her own desperate condition. I needed to say it for me because — you look at a new little baby, and all you think is how cute they are. We fall into this whole idea of thinking these babies are just adorable, they’re so precious, and they’re just so good. And the reality is: In her flesh dwells no good thing. Well, it does today because she’s a follower of Christ. But in those days, she was a wicked sinner.
The show’s guest is an author and professor by the name of Bruce Ware, a “highly esteemed theologian” who teaches at Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. And for about three seconds after he begins to talk, you hold out hope that Ware will knock some sense into his host. But the gents actually agree that even the littlest kids are filthy sinners. Quoth Ware:
As you said, Bob — I mean, you look at these sweet little babies — but, boy, inside is, you can tell already, is this sin nature that is ready to be expressed in a variety of ways.
The professor then explains how he taught his own daughters obedience to God since they were very little:
I started meeting with each of the girls at their bedside after they got in their pajamas and got in bed. I’d get down on my knees, and we’d have Theology 101. For years, I did this and went through the whole of what I teach at the seminary — but just would introduce a verse and an idea / a truth, and expose them to it; and then, we’d talk about it, and they’d ask questions. …
I was surprised at how curious little children can be about these things. I mean, goodness, you give them the opportunity — help them understand a few little things, give them the opportunity to begin asking questions — and it is just surprising how much comes out of them, how much they are thinking about these things.
No doubt. I’d be thinking about it a lot, too, if I were a child who’d been told daily, since before my first birthday, that I was evil, corrupt, contaminated, and broken.
(Image via Shutterstock)