After church the kids and I were sitting at the table over our regular sunday night dinner of oatmeal, and Karson was talking to Karis about how we don't hate people. I had a momentary memory of my childhood in which I used to tell my parents goodnight and say, "I love everybody, but it's okay to hate the devil." As a child, I knew he must not be good if mom would let me say hate about him. As I remembered this standing in my own kitchen listening to my own kids talk about life, I said in a low voice, almost involuntarily while lost in my thoughts, "you can hate the devil," of course this comment didn't go unnoticed by the big kids.
"Mom, who's the devil?" Karson asked.
"He doesn't like God, and he doesn't love us. He wants us to disobey God."
"Oh, so is he a person?"
"No, he's not." (how do you explain this to a 5 and 3 yr. old?) "He wants you to not listen to God and not love God."
"So he talks to me like God does?"
yikes!!! No back up this isn't where I want this to go...
"He can put thoughts in your head and then you have a choice to listen to God or Satan (I take a moment to explain that most of the time he's called Satan, I didn't want any pitched forked figures to corrupt the reality of Satan's existence.)
"Oh he's the snake with Eve"
"Yes he was a snake in the garden with Adam and Eve" (lovely how even he takes Adam out of the picture when Eve bit the apple, ha ha).
So in all 5 year old wisdom, my son takes a breath and explains it way better than I was doing..."When I am in kindergarten and I think I want to hit someone and I lift my fist (as he does so with oatmeal on his fingers), then I hear God say to my heart, 'stop, I don't want you to do that' then I think and put my fist down."
Ummm, that's good stuff.
"Yes, Karson I think you understand." As I smile at the understanding he assumes.
He replies, "Jesus is a superhero, but without a cape." Interesting train of thought but we go with it.
"I think he is too, tell me why you think so."
"Because He loves us and protects us."
"He sure does sweet boy."
"Well, I love Jesus so can I hate the devil too?"
I take a deep breath and think quickly about all possible ramifications of my answer...
"Yes Karson you can hate the devil too."
I reflected on this and thought of a Heb 10:39, "We are NOT of those who shrink back and are destroyed, we are of those who believe and are saved." What power knowing that Jesus is my superhero brings upon my heart, believing that we have the strength to hate what is evil and do what is good. I don't want to choose to "hit" people with my words because I'm impatient or frustrated or late. I want to have the patience to love all people, except the devil of course.
I just simply have to listen to what God "says to my heart."