Unfortunately, I am not one of those “perfect Christians” who has never made a major mistake in their lives. Although I do take great relief in the grace Christ has shown me through his sacrifice for my mistakes, sins, bad decisions, etc, I still find myself struggling with the reminders of my mistakes. I struggle with how they not only affect me, but how they affect my relationships and my witness. When I look at my children, I see the same anxiety and pain in their eyes which scares me.
So how do you talk to your children about redemptive grace? How do you help a child understand that Christ chooses to forgive your sins and not hold them against you? Who could you give as an example of victory for a child to understand? Enter in: Chicken Little.
If you have followed any of the posts in the series, “How to teach your kids about Christ, using movies“, you most likely know I really enjoy watching children movies. Last night, I was watching Chicken Little with my little girl. (It was Daddy Date Night!) Though its exact origins are unknown, chances are you have heard the story of Chicken Little, a diminutive fowl who is struck by an acorn and misinterprets the event as indicating that the sky is falling. That fable provides a starting point of sorts for this vastly expanded and reconfigured take. Chicken Little here is an undersized middle school boy (voiced by Zach Braff) who has a large, unflattering reputation to live down following his (widely-believed) misguided panic.
In one of the scenes, the father is driving Chicken Little home and the discussion evolves to what the dad calls Chicken Little’s “Big Mistake.” It seems as if poor Chicken Little just cannot shake this awful event in his life. Even if he could forget it, those in his life would not allow him. Does this sound familiar?
As I mentioned before, I have made numerous mistakes in life and unfortunately, the casualties have not all been mine. I am often reminded of them while I am in prayer, leading a small group, or doing anything for the Kingdom. Although this sort of attack should not surprise me, it does still shake me and cause doubt. I was once told by an older lady in the church that when the devil started to remind you of your past, remind him of his future and he’ll quickly shut up. That does work sometimes, but what about the times it doesn’t?
“But he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
2 Corinthians 1:9
I cling to this verse in times of trial over my past. I have to remind myself of it constantly and repeat it so that I do not do what the enemy wants me to do and simply lay down. Chicken Little is a great example of how this could work. Although he too struggled with the mistake he made, he did not let it dictate his current situations. His mission was to do something great and essentially redeem that event in the minds of others. There was no doubt in his mind he could do it. It was simply a matter of when.
So what are the lessons we could use from Chicken Little’s Big Mistake to teach our children?
1. 2 Corinthians 1:9 ~ Another way to teach this verse to children is convey to them that we all need Jesus because of our weaknesses. The old “Yes Jesus Loves Me” song talks of how we are weak be He is strong. Help your child to understand that Christ does not expect perfection, but obedience and repentance.
2. Our Past DOES NOT Define Us~ So many times we fall into the trap of who we were and not who we are in Christ. I wish someone would have taught me that lesson early in my childhood. Just like Chicken Little, we should not let our “Big Mistake” define our current situations. If we have sinned, we need to confess and repent, but we should not dwell. It is Christ’s mercy that defines who we are, not our weaknesses.
3. You should talk about your worries. There is a double lesson here: one for the child and one for the parent. After watching the movie, I asked myself “How many times do I actually stop to listen to my children’s fears or their thoughts?” I think all parents are guilty of merely discounting our children’s worries as trivial and moving on with our day. I am not one who advocates dwelling upon the subject, but I do need to at least address it and discuss it with my children. If they do not learn about Christ’s mercy from me through my example, where will they learn it?
All in all, we all have mistakes we would like to simply go away. I am sure Paul would have liked that whole “terrorist” section of his life to go away, but it did not. I wonder how many times he felt ashamed to be called by the one he persecuted to serve those he once persecuted? After pondering this thought, it’s no wonder he wrote so much about the redemptive power of Christ’s mercy and grace. We often write what we have the most experience with.
In our service on Sunday, we had the cardboard testimonies of those who have had major issues in their lives redeemed by Christ. I thought I would share the message with you. Watch it by clicking here.
If you would like more in this series, please be sure to check out the other articles in Using Movies to Witness.
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About the Writer:
Trent Cotton has spent a number of years in management and business consulting. After spending some time in the field, he joined the HR department, beginning in recruiting and eventually serving as the Department Head of HR for one of the major lines of business. With such a varied background, he works to bring all of these together to help churches and other Christian organizations incorporate some common business practices into their ministries to enable them to better serve the Kingdom. He currently works for SourcePointe, an HR Outsourcing Agency while continuing to own and operate Christian Management Consulting as a ministry. In his free time, he also writes a lot on Church Development as a Church Consultant.