When I was about 6 or 7 years old, I watched Rev. Charles Stanley on television. At that time, my family only had three channels. Many times, I would wake up on Sunday mornings and watch television while eating peanut butter sandwiches or peanut butter and crackers. Two of the channels only had news on it. The other channel had preaching. Therefore, the preaching was more interesting to me. I have never liked watching news.
One memorable Sunday, I was sitting in the recliner eating peanut butter sandwiches while listening to Rev. Charles Stanley. He must have been preaching a sermon about repentance because I remember that he gave an analogy concerning heaven and hell. I do not remember it word for word, but the main idea has stuck with me. According to the analogy, people are on a journey. They can only go two directions. One direction is hell. The other direction is heaven. When you are born, you start out facing the direction of hell because of Adam’s sin. When you get older you can decided to continue towards hell or you can repent and ask Jesus into your heart. As soon as you repent and ask Jesus into your heart, you turn around and start going towards heaven. After you turn towards heaven, you stop doing those things that Jesus does not like.
At that time, I “played” with the idea. I likened hell to the back of the armrest on the recliner and heaven was the front. The back of the armrest looked dark and the front was light. I started walking my fingers in the middle. In my mind, everyone starts in the middle. At first, I started “walking” my fingers towards “hell”. Then I thought, “I want to go to heaven; therefore, I need to turn around.” So, I started “walking” my fingers towards heaven.
Thinking back on this, I believe this is called child-like faith. Now that I am an adult, I liken this journey to a number line. If you keep going towards one direction, you are heading towards negative infinity or “hell”. The other direction is positive infinity or “heaven”. Everyone will live forever. You will be in either negative infinity or positive infinity. The chose is yours. To continue this analogy, when you are born you are at zero. In mathematics zero is neutral. A baby does not yet have the knowledge to know right from wrong. Therefore, they are neutral.
As a baby grows up, either they learn about Jesus and heaven or they learn evil. I watched preaching on television as a child. What are your children watching? Remember they learn what they see and hear. If they watch violent shows, they learn violence. If the watch good shows, they learn to be good. This also shows that children can understand the basic message of the gospel.
Thank you Dr. Charles Stanley for preaching the word of God so
plainly that a child could understand.