Button approached me in the kitchen while I was making dinner. “Mama, can I talk to you about something? I have been keeping it from you and I don’t want to any more. It’s really bad. Really really bad.” (in her typical Button dramatic flair way)
I smiled to myself with my back turned to her. “Really, Button? Worse than North Korea having nuclear weapons?”
“MUCH worse,” she responded. I laughed–she has no idea what nuclear weapons are, or why it matters that North Korea has them. “Okay, Button,” I said, inviting the conversation but not believing it could possibly be as bad as nukes in North Korea.
She went on to let me know that she’s been reading so much Greek mythology, in part because her school has assigned it and in part out of her own interest, that she’s thinking about God a lot less than she used to, and she’s become fascinated with these other gods, and she’s even gone so far as to think that Zeus sounds like a better god than our God. And she’s been hiding it because she knows it’s wrong and bad, and that I’d probably make her stop reading those books, but she doesn’t want to think this way any more. And what should she do?
At this point, I had completely stopped everything I was doing and was STUNNED at what she was telling me. I was reminded that while our American culture treats Greek mythology as mere literature, these stories are about the false gods (demons, really) that Paul adamantly preached against in the book of Acts. These weren’t just stories about characters. These “characters” (gods) have the power to destroy people. They did 2,000 years ago, and they can today. And if, when reading about them, they begin to take a place in your heart and mind that is for God alone, then that’s really dangerous. She was right. This WAS worse than North Korea having nukes.
(Quick Kelly, think think. What to do?)
I suggested she pray about it and see what Jesus says she should do. In part because I didn’t know what to tell her and in part because I wanted her to be reminded that Jesus is the one, true God — the God who loves her enough to speak to her (unlike all those other gods on Olympus who can’t say a word). I told her I would pray at the same time and see what He told me.
She took a couple minutes and came back excitedly: “Okay, Mom! I’m done!”
“He already talked to you?” I asked.
“Yes!” she nodded confidently. (Okay, I thought, I barely got started and the only idea that came to mind…again…was not to read these books…)
“So what did He say?”
“He said to stop reading the books!”
“Okay, honey. That’s what I heard, too.” She was extremely excited that I got the same thing. And I was extremely excited that I didn’t have to be the one to tell her to stop reading the books.
“And He told me something else, too. He said that whenever I feel like I want to read Greek mythology, read my Bible instead. So I’m going to start taking my Bible to school.”
I was amazed. That sounded EXACTLY like something Jesus would say. He’s the God who always gives us a way out of temptation. And He’s the God who loves us enough to not saddle us with a whole bunch of “Thou shalt not” rules, but give us life-giving alternatives. And He’s the God who always gives more than He takes.
I told her how proud of her I was for telling me, for talking to Jesus, and for listening to Him so well. I told her I think her God-given solution sounded perfect. And that while this was worse than North Korea having nukes, God gave us a way to be saved. Our God is a God who saves!
And she’s carried her Bible in her backpack ever since.