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Explaining Hell to Children

by Stephen Davey

Cathy asks, "How can I explain the reality of hell to my children?"

There is no doubt that explaining the concept of hell to a child can be challenging. It involves sensitive and complex theological ideas. 

Assuming that your children are young, here are some tips for talking to them about hell with care and compassion:

Use Simple Language: Start with basic concepts that a child can understand. Avoid overly complex theological terms.

Emphasize God's Love: Begin by explaining that God loves everyone deeply and wants everyone to be with Him. Focus on God's love, grace, and desire for people to choose Him.

Introduce the Idea of Choices: Explain that people have the freedom to choose to love and follow God or not. Use examples of everyday choices to illustrate this point.

Explain Consequences: Discuss that there are consequences for our choices. Just as there are good and bad outcomes for decisions we make every day, there are also spiritual consequences.

Describe Hell in Basic Terms: Explain that hell is a place where people who choose not to be with God go. It's a place away from God's love and goodness. Avoid Fear-Based Language.

Refrain from using scary or fear-inducing descriptions. While hell is a terrible place, your goal is to inform, not to frighten. 

Use Bible Stories and Parables: Use appropriate Bible stories or parables to illustrate the concept. For example, the story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31 can be adapted to convey the idea of consequences for our choices.

Be Ready for Questions: Encourage your child to ask questions and be patient in answering them. Children are naturally curious, and their questions can guide your conversation.

Reassure with Hope: Emphasize the hope and promise of heaven for those who choose to follow Jesus. Explain that Jesus offers forgiveness and a way to be with God forever.

Provide Comfort and Security: Reassure the child that God loves them and is always with them. Provide a sense of security in God's love and care.

Keep in mind that this is not a conversation your have once. Talk about God and His Word frequently. Encourage questions. Ad your children grow, they will understand more and more about this, and many other difficult biblical topics. 

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