WHEN IS A CHILD READY? PART II
Parents who are concerned about the spiritual life of their child often wonder when can I tell them about asking Jesus to be their Savior? Will they really understand it? What age is the real age of accountability?
There are many teachers who teach that the age of accountability is twelve years because that was the time of the Jewish Bar Mitzvah or coming into adulthood/ There are some who teach that nineteen is the age of accountability because Biblically a man could become a warrior or a Levite could become a priest at that age. However, there are some verses that would suggest a much younger age of accountability. Jonah 4:11 speaks of a conversation between an angry Jonah and God. Jonah was mad that God had accepted Nineveh's repentance and not destroyed them. God answered, "And should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know the difference between their right and left hand, as well as many animals?" This suggests that God considers a child to be as innocent as an animal until he has matured enough to understand the concept of left and right which is somewhere around ages three and four. Now, I know there are adults who still get left and right mixed up but they do understand that there is a difference. In Isaiah 7:15 there is a prophecy about Messiah that says at the time he can eat curds and honey he will know enough to refuse evil and choose good. This is an even younger age. When a child eats solid food he should be able to understand to choose good and refuse evil.
So it would seem that sharing things about God the Father and Jesus the Savior would be extremely important from about one year of age. Never force a personal decision but give out the information and watch for signs of understanding. You can ask the child questions to see what they truly comprehend. Using my chart in my book, "The Four Seasons of Fruitful Parenting" that explains God's Holy Highway and Man's Sinful Byway can be very helpful.
I know many adults who remember clearly asking Jesus to be their Savior at the age of 3 or 4 and it was a long-term settled issue for them. I, myself, asked Jesus to be my Savior at the age of 3. My parents had taught me to love Jesus and that He loved me. But there came a moment when I realized that my sin separated me from Him. I remember actually feeling a stabbing pain in my heart as I realized this. I shared this with my parents and they used the God's Holy Highway chart to lead me to true salvation. And here I am in my seventies still going strong for Jesus.
Never underestimate what your child comprehends. Lead them gently but clearly when you see their comprehension and desire spring to life. If in later years a person questions their salvation they can always reaffirm to Jesus in prayer that they are committed to Him. There is a great joy that comes from leading your child to Jesus for all eternity.