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Leo Tolstoy

On three separate occasions, God told parents in Israel how to answer the serious questions of their sons and daughters (see Exodus 13:14, Deuteronomy 6:20, and Joshua 4:6,21). This would indicate that God wants us to take the time to answer our children when they ask us about spiritual matters. How we respond can either greatly help or terribly discourage them.

Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy told of an aunt who hurt him deeply when she didn’t take time to answer some questions that were troubling him. She stirred his emotions by telling him of Jesus’ crucifixion, but when he cried out, “Auntie, why did they torture Him?” she said simply, “They were wicked.” “But wasn’t He God?” Tolstoy asked. Instead of explaining that Jesus was indeed God, that He had become a man so He could die for our sins, she said, “Be still—it is 9 o’clock!” When he persisted, she retorted, ““Be quiet, I say, I’m going to the dining room to have tea.” This left young Tolstoy greatly agitated. Commenting on this scene, Calvin Miller said, “Tolstoy found it incomprehensible that Christ had been brutalized and his aunt was not interested enough to stay a little past teatime and talk about it.”

Do we allow our own interests—a television program, a sporting event, a hobby—to keep us from taking time to listen, admonish, and instruct our children, or anyone who may ask us about God? If we pause long enough to explain His truth, He will use it to change lives. H.V.L.

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