by Pastor Tim Burt
This past week, Renee and I went to a movie. Prior to the movie there was previews for about five upcoming movies. Four of them were horrifically scary movies. I was truly shocked at the amount of movies made to produce fear in people.
When Renee and I were young with four small children, although we were quite busy running our Small Groups at church, we wanted to do more. We wanted to get involved serving in children’s ministry. One of the reasons we wanted to help besides our love for children, was to take what we learned in the classroom and use it at home to help our kids grow spiritually. We were hungry to learn anything we could to be better parents.
One of the things we learned is something I’ve written about before. We learned just how much small children are afraid to go to bed and to sleep at night. Their imaginations are vivid. They become very active with fear at night.
We learned that most parents let their children watch horrible and violent and scary things on television. They also let them watch and read about witches or creepy things in videos and books. And then there was the escalating of video games that were violent and had scary creatures. It all seems so innocent on the surface and most parents assumed that all the other parents let their kids watch these things, so they did too!
Week after week the kids in our classes would ask us to pray for them because they were so afraid at night. They were afraid of the dark. They were afraid of what was under the bed. They were afraid of the boogie man in the closet. They were afraid of the burglar outside the bedroom window. The shadows, the dark, and their imaginations were sometimes terrifying. We did not get the impression that the kids shared their fears with their parents. Maybe because their parents would have given them the pat answer, “there is nothing to be afraid of now go to sleep.”
It was through this repeated experience in children’s church that we realized our own kids battled the same fears. We'd ask and they'd finally open up and share what they are afraid of.
Fear is a very real thing. 1 John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear has torment…” God doesn’t want us to be the victim of fear but Satan would like to control our lives with it. Fear is the strategy of terrorist – Satan being the worst of them all. 2 Tim 1:7 says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” God does not want us to be controlled by fear. He wants us to become overcomers of fear. 1 John 4:4 says, “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He (Jesus) who is in you is greater than he(Satan and every demonic spirit) who is in the world.”
Renee had established the habit of taking the children to the library once a week when they were very small. We had little money back then and this was a free event they all looked forward to. We had a plastic crate for holding the books they would check out each week. Either Renee or I would screen each book to make sure there was no witchcraft or witches, no creepy creatures, no violence, and especially no books of children that expressed bad attitudes. (You wouldn’t believe how many books feature characters with bad attitudes.) The kids like dinosaurs and since they are real we let them pick out books about them as long as they didn’t come across too scary.We read age appropriate Bible stories books to them each night and talked to them about how the angels of God were there to watch over them.
You can't eliminate everything that is going to cause fear in a child's life, but you can stop promoting and contributing things that help produce fear. That was our goal and it did help them. They've all told us that. It isn’t that our children didn’t ever have some of those fears. They just had less of them. We did this so that they could say what the Psalmst said in Psa 27:1. “The LORD is my light and my salvation-- whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life-- of whom shall I be afraid?"
And one more thing, if you think fear promoters like scary movies don't affect you, think again. They do!
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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