With more and more violent persecutions being committed against Americans and Christians by Islamic militants (not to mention Hindu radicals or North Korean atheists), we western Christians are being forced to deal with matters we’d prefer to ignore or not think of often.
I recently wrote a four page document addressed to our local congregation urging Christian parents to not shelter their children from images of Christian persecution often found in Voice of the Martyrs pamphlets or DVDs. The images are done as tastefully as possible given the brutal nature of what our Christian family endures on a daily basis. While we should teach hard things to our kids in age-appropriate ways, I do not think keeping all images of death or suffering from them is appropriate at any age.
Biblically, as I stated at length in the four-pager, we often see God ordain or command public slaughter or suffering even among His people. For just a few examples, consider Exodus 32:25-29; Numbers 21 & 25 and 2 Kings 6:24-31.
And the experience of ancient Israel is in line with the experience of the majority of the world today. Most parents around the world are not afforded the luxury of hiding death and suffering from the eyes and experience of their children. I am not convinced we do our children any favors by exercising the right of our luxury here in the West.
But to keep this discussion short and to the point, I want to urge us all to think seriously on these matters. It is no longer possible in our day and age to bury our heads in the sand. Our teens can watch beheadings with a click on their phones, if they so desire. So, we need to prepare our children biblically to pray diligently for our persecuted church family, and to be ready themselves to have the knife to their own throats. That’s a horrible image, I know. But it’s not unthinkable anymore in America, is it?
Let’s seek grace in our church communities to equip one another to obey Hebrews 13:3, knowing a good starting place may be to walk our children through Hebrews 11 verse-by-verse. We’ve got a hard road ahead. We’re going to need one another like never before. God help us.
To hear Dr. John Piper address this topic: http://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/should-i-look-at-beheading-images