The greatest lack in the religion of children is generally a sufficient sense of sin.
–Robert Murray M’Cheyene
Many assume that kids have a good sense of sin because kids get in trouble so much, but when asked to name sins of the day, most kids have trouble coming up with anything.
Getting in trouble is not always equated with sin in a child’s mind. The older a kid gets, the more he feels getting in trouble is the fault of the parent, the teacher, or another kid who made them get in trouble.
Rarely do kids admit they were wrong when they get in trouble. Rather you hear, “I didn’t” or “I wasn’t.” Getting in trouble does not mean one little thing to their brains.
Too often we jump into grace and mercy before laying any groundwork establishing why they would need grace and mercy. You can ask a kid, “You know you’re a sinner, right?”
Their answers rarely involve guilt, remorse, certainly never tears. Some will actually say, “no.” Others who say “yes” will give vague notions of sins, general categories, but will struggle to come up with specifics.
Yet we pump em full of grace and mercy, which is nothing more than a Christian effort at building self-esteem. Remember, being saved means we must die, not feel good about being alive in us.
If a kid does not see their sin they will never see the beauty of grace. Making a child sensitive to sin, seeing that sin is against God and Him only (not against dad or mom), he’ll fail to see any need for salvation.