I teach kindergarten through fifth grade elementary kids every Wednesday at our church and they’ve been asking some really good questions of me as of late. I was actually teaching them yesterday morning and ran into this question:
If a person sins, asks for forgiveness, and then repeats the same sin and asking for forgiveness over and over again will God forgive them? I told them it all depends on their heart. If it’s a sincere struggle for wanting to do right, but falling short then I think God would forgive them and help them to where they sin less. However, if they really didn’t mean it and made no steps toward actual repentance then no He would not. The question stemmed from me defining repentance for them as the walking toward sin, and then turning away from it to walk toward God instead. This lead to their second question: What about someone who is mentally unstable? If there is someone who psychologically, I’m struggling for the right word here but let’s say…geared toward a particular sin then would God forgive them because God made them that way and they can’t help it. Maybe kleptomania for stealing would be a good example. My response first was that I don’t know. I’m not a psychologist by any means to be able to really understand mental disorders. But I also told them that I believed it would depend on whether they know what they are doing is wrong or not. If the person knew what they were doing was wrong and they never sought help to change then God would hold them accountable for that sin. However, if the desire to change was there and they sought help then I believe God would forgive them.
I’ve been praying about this answer, along with a way to understand how to explain to them the “God made me this way” concept. How would you approach this? I told the 3 individuals who were really digging into this that I would look more into it and come back with an explanation for them as soon as I could that way I didn’t just leave them hanging on the question.
Also, if it’s not too much to ask another question of you, what would you say to “the fairness of being born into sin?” I recently listened to a discussion on Wretched between Todd and a student at UGA, and Todd was asked that question. I kind of understand what Todd was saying, but at the root of it I don’t understand it either and get a sneaking suspicion that will be another question in the near future from the children. Basically the premise is why should I pay the for the fault of Adam? Why did God allow Adam and Eve to procreate instead of saving them, and allowing others the opportunity to choose between eating of the tree or not?
Thank you for your time and I will be praying for you as you look to answer the questions given to you from each of the users here.