“I would be normal, and if someone did something wrong, I would send him to the dungeon,” says Claire, age 6.
Yikes! Claire, if you consider the dungeon normal punishment for bad behavior, dare we ask what you would do for a serious crime? Perhaps you’ve seen too many movies set in medieval times.
“If I were queen, everybody would serve God, or they would go to jail,” says Autumn, 9. “If they still don’t learn their lesson by the time they die, just remember they don’t serve breakfast in hell.”
Autumn, no one will ever accuse you of holding back. With that attitude, you’ll probably never serve as a diplomat at the United Nations. Just remember that conversion by force is no conversion at all.
Jesus never took up the sword to persuade. He restored the ear of a man who came to arrest him after the Apostle Peter cut it off. “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword,” Jesus told Peter (Matthew 26:52).
Christians should never use force to make anyone believe in the Lord Jesus as Savior. Neither should anyone be forced to follow Jesus as a disciple.
Jesus had unimaginable power. Yet he wept over Jerusalem, saying that he wanted to gather the Jews to himself as a hen gathers her chicks, but they wouldn’t come to him (Matthew 23:37-39). Jesus foresaw the coming destruction in A.D. 70, when Jerusalem would be left in ruins by the Romans and the nation would cease to exist.
Under the reign of “King” Andrew, 11, “Everyone would be told about Jesus. They would have a choice and not be forced.”
English clergyman Roger Williams founded Rhode Island to create a haven for religious dissenters. Williams sometimes debated with leaders of Christian sects whom he considered heretics, but he refrained from using his power as a government leader to coerce. The Rhode Island experiment worked so well that the framers of our Constitution borrowed heavily from its constitution.
Williams’ ideas are not welcome in some places today. I’ll never forget my conversation in the early 1990s at the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Washington, D.C. As part of a journalism student group, I asked a Saudi representative if it were true that people who convert from Islam to another religion in his country were killed. Without any hesitancy, our Saudi host said the families usually do the killing. I asked him if the Saudi government prosecuted the murdering family members. “No,” he said.
Is it any wonder that Osama bin Laden and other terrorist thugs grew up in Saudi Arabia?
“If I were king of the world, I would help the poor people and give them food and clothes,” says William, 8. “I would teach everyone about God.”
William, you may not realize it, but you are a king, especially with your attitude. The Bible says Christians are kings and priests to God (Revelation 1:6).
Think about this: Two kingdoms struggle for dominance the world over. One uses hate, greed and raw power to enforce its will upon others in the name of politics or religion. The other kingdom advances by love, kindness and humility. Each kingdom has its rulers. One seeks to dominate, while the other looks for opportunities to serve.
Memorize this truth: “Whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant” (Matthew 20:26).
Ask this question: To which kingdom do you belong?
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Bible quotations are from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.
COPYRIGHT 2006 CAREY KINSOLVING