Children are old enough to see adults having sex and they are old enough to play video games that blow people’s heads off and yet I hear many Christians say that they must be older to accept Christ.
Children are entering puberty at a younger and younger age and are more mature than in the history of mankind. And yet, we want them to wait until they “know what they are doing” to accept Christ.
Shame on us! Jesus said, “Let the children come to me; the kingdom of God is theirs.” (Matthew 19:14)
Corrie ten Boom used to quote this anonymous poem in her talks with audiences:
Said a precious little laddie,
To his father one bright day
“May I give myself to Jesus,
Let Him wash my sins away?”
O, my son, but you’re so little,
Wait until you older grow,
Bigger folks ’tis true, do need Him,
But little folk are safe, you know.
Said the father to his laddie,
As a storm was coming on,
“Are the sheep all safely sheltered,
Safe within the fold, myson?”
“All the big ones are, my father,
But the lambs, I let them go,
For I didn’t think it mattered,
Little one’s are safe, you know.”
I was 7 years old when I accepted Christ. Did I understand what I was doing? Not completely. I still do not. My faith has grown as Jesus has gently led me to grow in him. I am compelled with the importance of allowing children the choice to ask Jesus into their hearts.
Each year in Bible school I counsel with children. Some, do not understand and are just beginning to get ready — others are very ready and they are young (7 or 8.) It is through the Holy Spirit that we have discernment. I pray in agony over such moments and trust my Lord to lead me and other counselors.
Must we be careful! Oh yes! We cannot intimidate or browbeat children into “accepting Christ” for that acceptance would not be genuine and surely we’ll be called into account on judgement day. But we must ask — continually. We must let them know it is a decision that they must make for themselves.
Some Christians state that the “magic age of accountability” is the age when one must accept Christ — not before. Some say that age is 12 and others 13. However, there is no Biblical proof for a “magic age” at which time one must accept Christ.
When one is aware of their sins and knowledgeable that they will die in those sins without the saving power of Jesus Christ — that is the time. I’ve seen children whose parents tell them to “wait.” In my experience, the children either live in torment or become cold to the things of Christ.
It is vital to ask children and present the gospel to them. I have found that in today’s age that between the ages of 6-12 are the prime ages that I see children come to Christ.
Do some children just follow their friends? Oh yes! There is sin everywhere and such good intentioned mistakes happen – we are dealing with children here. But the true sin is for us adults to “decide” that we should wait until a child is thirteen. Ask yourself — will you let your 10 year old see a PG-13 movie? Your 8 year old? Your 5 year old?
This is a double standard that we Christians must stop. Let the little children come unto Jesus! Do not prohibit them!
Lord, give us discernment this Christmas season as we talk about Jesus to little ones. Let us withold judgement and allow the Holy Spirit to work through us to lead little one’s to Christ. Let us be diligent as we begin to prepare for upcoming Bible Schools in the summer. Most of all let us show Christ to the little ones and not be a stumbling stone. We love you Jesus. May our faith be childlike. Amen.