Helping Kids Make Sense of a Cultural Crisis

“Mommy, why are people shouting?” 

“Why are those buildings on fire?” 

“What happened to that man?”

“Why are those people so angry?”

Many of our children have seen frightening images and overheard troubling conversations in recent months, whether in the news, on social media, and in some cases, in their own neighborhoods and schools. What do we tell them? How do we help them process what they are seeing and hearing? 

We can count on God’s unchanging truth to guide us through every cultural crisis. As the challenges and questions keep coming, remember that God has chosen your family to prepare your children to influence their culture for Christ, and He has given you the words your kids need in His Word. As you deeply breathe in the wisdom of Scripture, you will have what is needed to share truth with your child. 

Six Truth-Filled Talking Points

One way to have a truth-filled conversation with your family is to read God’s Word together. The passages of Scripture listed here are a good place to start. Consider reading them aloud and then discuss how God’s timeless truth speaks to the circumstances in the news—or just around the corner. 

Truth: God has made every person the bearer of His image. 

Explain to your kids that every person is precious in God’s sight because every person bears God’s image. As we model humility, our children will see that no ethnicity is superior to another. We have a foretaste of heaven when we draw on His grace to love others as He has loved us. 

Verses to read together: Genesis 1:26; Matthew 22:39; Galatians 3:28

Truth: From one man (Adam), God made all the nations. 

Talk with your kids about some differences between people from different nations or cultures. Remind them that although we may have different histories or different physical characteristics, we are all related to one another. Because God made Adam the father of all people, we were all born into Adam’s family. One day people from every nation, people, and language who believe in Jesus will worship Him without misunderstanding and in perfect harmony. 

Verses to read together: Acts 17:26; Revelation 5:9–10; 9:9

Truth: We should pray for the oppressed and for their oppressors.

Ultimately, our battle is not against people, but against the evil one. We cannot face the evil origins of racism on our own without the Holy Spirit’s help. Your example can teach our child how to pray and how to rely on His strength to act justly. Our We should pray for the oppressed to experience God’s grace and healing and for those who act wickedly to be delivered from evil.

Verses to read together: Psalm 9:7–10; Ephesians 6:12 

Truth: God looks at our hearts.

God can use this time of crisis to build your child’s faith. God looks at our hearts. The nature of sin in our hearts is to think of ourselves more than others. If we hold on to bitterness, God is not pleased. Have your children heard you speak of people who don’t look like you or who don’t share your political views, in a way that has stirred up fear and distrust of others? Have there been times when you have been silent when you should have spoken out against acts of hatred? Let your children hear you confess. Include them in your prayers of repentance. 

Verses to read together: 1 Samuel 16:7; Proverbs 28:13

Truth: Kindness strives to see and feel the needs of others.

Let’s teach our children to listen and try to understand where others may be coming from and how to love our neighbors well, even when that requires risk. In the same way God put the man who had been robbed and beaten in the path of the Levite and Samaritan (Luke 10:25–37), God puts people in our path to love. We can’t just cross to the other side of the road. Walking with humility and compassion means asking God to help us love others as He loves us. With Him, we can love mercy and act justly.

Verses to read together: Micah 6:8; Luke 10:25–37; 1 John 3:16–18; Ephesians 4:32

Truth: God loves His diverse church. 

We want to help our children understand that Jesus gave His life to redeem people from every tribe, language, people and nation. As His forgiven family, we can rejoice in the unity He purchased for us in His death on the cross. Everything He brings into our lives is an opportunity to bring Him glory and to add children to His forever family. There is a day coming when Christ will reign as King over the entire earth. The strong will not take advantage of the weak; there will be no injustice, no violence, pride, or hatred, and, no virus. Christ’s righteous rule will someday fully accomplish what His followers are to help our world aim for now.

Verses to read together: Isaiah 65:20–25, Revelation 5:9–10

Build Gospel Truth in Their Hearts

However strange this time in history seems, God has put us in this time and place for a purpose. Remember: God has chosen your family to prepare your children to influence their culture for Christ. Oppression and injustice are part of the fallen world that Jesus came to redeem. Jesus, who had known the praise of heaven, was despised and rejected by people (Isa. 53:3–7). He endured the cross because of the joy (Heb. 12:2) of reconciling God’s enemies to His Father (Psalm 22:22–31). 

The day is coming when all who belong to Christ will worship Him with clean hearts and love for one another (Rev. 7:9–17). We can enjoy a foretaste of heaven as we draw on His grace to love one another, despite our differences. As we count on God’s unchanging truth to guide us, we can teach our children to look forward to the day when Jesus brings an end to all injustice, sorrow, and suffering (Rev. 21:2–4).

About the Author

Barbara Reaoch

Barbara Reaoch

Barbara Reaoch is the author of A Better Than Anything Christmas (2020) and Making Room for Her: Wisdom for a Healthier Relationship with Your Mother-in-Law or Daughter-in-Law (2022). She served as director of the Children’s Division of Bible Study Fellowship … read more …

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