I love how she chatters when it’s just her and me in the van, her sweet, soft voice breaking through the unusual quiet as we travel. I point out two military jets flying overhead and she asks if they are carrying a lot of people.
“Well, no, these jets are carrying soldiers who work hard to protect us, protect our country,” I explain.
“They protect us? Like from bad guys? Mommy, are bad guys real?” Her voice gets quiet.
I want to tell her, “no.” I want to make her feel safe and secure, but the truth is that bad guys are real. “Yes, they are real, sis. Some people want to hurt others and do bad things.”
From the front seat, I imagine her eyes growing wide with this information. “Because they don’t love God?” She questions, so smart yet so innocent for all of her five years.
I want to tell her, “yes.” Yes, bad guys are bad because they don’t know or love God. They are bad because they hurt others. They are bad because they have evil inside, and they do unspeakable things. That would be the quick and easy explanation, right?
But it’s not the whole truth, is it, this idea that some are bad and some are good? The truth is we all have evil inside. We’re all bad in a sense; it’s called sin. So once again I stop myself from making it sound that simple in favor of telling her the truth.
“Well, yes, some bad guys probably don’t know God or love Him. But really we all have the ability to be bad. We all have sin inside of us, and we all make wrong choices sometimes. It’s only because we believe that Jesus paid the punishment for our sins by dying on the cross that we can choose good instead. That’s the only real difference between the bad guys and the good guys – Jesus. Without Him we would all be bad guys.”
She falls quiet then for a while, and I know she’s thinking about what I said. I hope and I pray that she really gets it. That there is nothing good in us, nothing deserving, nothing “better than.”
Because more than anything I want my sweet, dark-haired beauty of a daughter to know that she cannot, she cannot, be good on her own. She needs Jesus. She needs grace.
Even more than that, I want her to realize that we all need it, this grace, this unmerited, unearned, undeserved, unfathomable gift from a Father God who deigned to love us, a bunch of bad guys, enough to sacrifice His one and only Son.
But God demonstrates His own love toward us,
in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Yes, my daughter, bad guys are real.
But praise be to God,
Jesus is real, too.
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