by Caroline Newheiser
This article is the first in a series focused on counseling the young members of our community. It addresses the importance of speaking the Word of God to the children among us. Biblical counselors should be equipped to help children who need counseling.
Children are part of God’s Kingdom
Children can be led to Christ at a young age. The synoptic gospels record the incident of Jesus rebuking the disciples who hindered the access of children into His presence (Matthew 19:14, Mark 10:13-16, Luke 18:15-17). Because children reflect the image of God, we know they have a soul and thus an eternal destiny. Romans 3:23-24 states that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. There is no age distinction specified. Children need to be reconciled to the Lord through the hope of the gospel (1 Peter 1:3). They battle their sin nature (as adults do) and can struggle with an understanding of on-going sanctification. Some of these children will become communing members of your church and will need discipleship.
The Bible is written to children
The Bible addresses children in the Psalms and Proverbs. In fact, the book of Proverbs contains instructions from a father and mother to a son (and a daughter by inference). We read many biblical examples of adults teaching children. For example, Deuteronomy 6:20-25 specifically teaches what should be transmitted to the children in a family. This includes an oral history of God’s work among His people, along with a good dose of theology.
In the book of 2 Timothy, we read about Timothy’s mother and grandmother, who had a sincere faith. It is assumed that these women taught Timothy the gospel. In fact, in 2 Timothy 3:14-15 we have confirmation that Timothy was taught the sacred writings from childhood. What an exciting testimony of the Lord implanting the Word from a young age!
The Bible uses the example of child-like faith
Jesus taught the startling concept that “whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it” (Luke 18:17). Children have a simple faith. They trust their heavenly Father implicitly. Think about a little child walking down a sidewalk, holding the hand of an adult. When it is time to cross a street, the child confidently follows because she trusts her caregiver. It is beautiful to witness the faith of a child.
Several children of faith are described in Scripture. One is Naaman’s servant girl. This unnamed girl told her master’s wife that she knew of a prophet in Samaria who could cure leprosy (2 Kings 5:3). She was confident that the man of God could cure an incurable disease. We read about the boy-king, Josiah. When Josiah was eight years old, “he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD and walked in all the way of David his father. He did not turn aside to the right or to the left” (2 Kings 22:1-2).
It is a privilege and responsibility to counsel children. We are blessed to guide a child into wisdom and understanding (Proverbs 5:1). It is exciting to watch wisdom and insight develop (Proverbs 4:7). Life-long friendships are possible.
We also share an important responsibility. We are called to make disciples and teach them to observe God’s commandments (Matthew 28:19-20). A child might not have access to a wise adult who can fulfill that role. That adult could be you!