We have a nagging tendency to equate “good” with “easy” and “bad” with “difficult.” If something is easy and comfortable, we see it as good. But if something is difficult and uncomfortable, we see it as bad.
Seeing Good and Bad More Clearly
While there are times when easy is indeed good and difficult is indeed bad, there are plenty of times when they are not. Two simple examples might suffice.
Simple Example 1: Strenuous, difficult exercise is good. Comfortable, relaxed exercise is bad. We all need to remember this when we exercise. It is tempting to go easy, so we have to be reminded that if we want to experience the health benefits, we have to experience difficulty. If we are investing an hour into exercising, we may as well make it worth it, right?
Simple Example 2: Pre-packaged, processed foods are easy, but they aren’t good (in taste and quality as well as health benefits). Homemade foods can be difficult, but they are good.
These examples are simple ones. But let’s move beyond that to a couple of weighty ones.
Weighty Example 1: This week’s session provides an important example of when difficult things are good. Few people would not acknowledge that Paul’s arrest and imprisonment were difficult. Even if he were treated somewhat well, he lost his freedom and upon his arrest, he was at risk for long-term imprisonment or worse. But when we see this event in the context of Paul’s life, we see that it was actually quite good. Paul’s arrest by the Romans protected him from an angry Jewish mob that may have killed him. And as we will see coming up, this was an important step to take Paul to Rome as Christ had promised, on Rome’s dime. As you teach this week, be sure that your kids see the upside down (or right side up) nature of this event.
Weighty Example 2: The best example of bad things being good is, of course, the cross. No one would claim that the cross was an easy and good event. It was brutal. A great evil—greater than any other evil ever. But we know that God brought forth the greatest good from this greatest evil.
As we seek to live out the gospel and teach our kids the gospel, let’s be sure to orient our thinking about “good” and “bad” on truth, and not on our perception. Let’s seek to live in faith, with joy, not pursuing hardships, but welcoming them when they come as we recognize that God may be bringing something incredibly good into our lives.
The early Christians not only outthought their opponents, they also outlived them … In the writings of the early Christian apologists, the behavior of the Christians was a key aspect used in defense of Christianity. The force of blameless lives has been powerful in defending Christianity against attacks from outside in every age.” — Ajith FernandoAjith Fernando, Acts, in The NIV Application Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1998) [Logos].
Tips for Teaching this Week’s Session
Every week, members of The Gospel Project for Kids team offer guidance to help you as you prepare to teach every session to preschoolers and kids. Listen in as we discuss:
- The big idea of the session
- Any areas of caution or requiring additional prep time
- What we hope God will do through this session
This training is available on Ministry Grid, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and other podcast platforms.