2 Lessons for Kids from the US Capital Riot

If you haven’t heard, the U.S. Capital Building was stormed last week for the first time since the War of 1812.

This whole thing upsets me so much that I’m not going to go into much of the whys, wherefores, justifications, morality, and responses. Others have done that. Here are just a few if you want to read up for yourself. (This is by no means all of it. I just had to quit looking since it makes me so upset.)

Please, please, please, please, PLEASE be sure to bring out the following two points when talking to your kids about these things.

1. Beware of Syncretism

Syncretism is a big word. Syncretism is when you mix up two worldviews. For example, when we mix up Christianity with aspects of other religions, that’s syncretism. In the case of the Capital Riot, we saw syncretism like this:

In case you missed it, that red cross on a white background is a symbol from the Crusades.

In case you’re unfamiliar, this banner is a remake of Donal Trump’s election banner.

Let’s be clear.

  • Donald Trump does not equal Jesus nor vise versa.
  • “Republican” does not equal “Christian” nor vise versa.
  • “Democrat” does not equal “Christian” nor vise versa.
  • “Independent” does not equal “Christian” nor vise versa.
  • “White supremacist” does not equal “Christian” nor vise versa.
  • “Democracy” does not equal “Christian” nor vise versa.
  • “American” does not equal “Christian” nor vise versa.
  • “America” does not equal “God’s kingdom” nor vise versa.

That is what I mean when I say “beware of syncretism.”

2. “Christian” does not equal “Perfect.”

Once again, let’s be clear. I am not condoning the Capital Riot in any way. I do, however, want to address the elephant in the room. Were some Christians involved in the uprising? It certainly seems like it. Will this color how people view all Christians? Absolutely! This leads me to two sub-points.

2A. Not everyone who says they are a Christian has actually committed their lives to Christ.

Does this surprise you? It shouldn’t. I did a short video about this not long ago.

2B. You don’t stop sinning when you become a Christian.

I think this is what bothers people the most. Christians teach that when you ask Jesus to be your Savior, your sins are forgiven and taken away. This is biblical (i.e. Ps. 103:12; Isa. 1:8; Jn. 1:9; Rom. 6:6). However, the story doesn’t end there.

After salvation comes sanctification. Sanctification is how God makes us more like Jesus (who was perfect). It starts at salvation, when we ask Jesus to be our Savior, and ends when we die and go to live with Him in heaven.

My favorite description of sanctification is what Paul said in Romans 7:14-8:4.

14 We know that the law is holy. But I am not. I have been sold to be a slave of sin. 15 I don’t understand what I do. I don’t do what I want to do. Instead, I do what I hate to do. 16 I do what I don’t want to do. So I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, I am no longer the one who does these things. It is sin living in me that does them. 18 I know there is nothing good in my desires controlled by sin. I want to do what is good, but I can’t. 19 I don’t do the good things I want to do. I keep on doing the evil things I don’t want to do. 20 I do what I don’t want to do. But I am not really the one who is doing it. It is sin living in me that does it.

21 Here is the law I find working in me. When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 Deep inside me I find joy in God’s law. 23 But I see another law working in me. It fights against the law of my mind. It makes me a prisoner of the law of sin. That law controls me. 24 What a terrible failure I am! Who will save me from this sin that brings death to my body? 25 I give thanks to God who saves me. He saves me through Jesus Christ our Lord.

So in my mind I am a slave to God’s law. But sin controls my desires. So I am a slave to the law of sin.

Those who belong to Christ Jesus are no longer under God’s judgment. Because of what Christ Jesus has done, you are free. You are now controlled by the law of the Holy Spirit who gives you life. The law of the Spirit frees you from the law of sin that brings death. The written law was made weak by the power of sin. But God did what the written law could not do. He made his Son to be like those who live under the power of sin. God sent him to be an offering for sin. Jesus suffered God’s judgment against our sin. Jesus does for us everything the holy law requires. The power of sin should no longer control the way we live. The Holy Spirit should control the way we live. (NIRV)

Basically, here’s what he’s saying. Jesus saved us from the consequences of our sin. We want to live for Jesus, but it’s not always that easy. We still mess up and sin. The difference is that when you’re a Christian, you can confess your sin (tell on yourself), and Jesus is still there to forgive you and help you do better. Also, when you’re a Christian, the Holy Spirit lives inside you to help you know what to do. God also talks to you through the Bible to help you know what to do. Like learning any new skill, it takes time and practice, but God is with you every step of the way.

Next comes a very good question:

What should we say then? Should we keep on sinning so that God’s grace can increase? Not at all! As far as sin is concerned, we are dead. So how can we keep on sinning? (Rom 6:1-2 NIRV)

With that admonition in our ears, I’d like to close with one more reminder.

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV).

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