Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Talking to Autistic Kids about Salvation

"Accept Jesus into your heart."

"Cross the line of faith."

"Washed clean by the blood of the lamb."

"Jesus' blood has covered our sins."

These are wonderful churchy sentiments.  Think about them literally for one minute.

"Accept Jesus into your heart." How?  How can a person come into my heart? I've never seen Jesus, how will he get into my heart? Will that hurt?

"Cross the line of faith." Where is the line?

"Washed clean by the blood of the lamb."  "Jesus' blood has covered our sins." Yikes! I don't like blood. I don't want anyone's blood on me.  Lamb's are so cute. I don't want them to bleed.  Blood is red. I skinned my knee and the blood stained my jeans.  How can blood wash my clean?

Many autistic kiddos are black and white thinkers.  Figurative language makes 0.0% sense to many of them.  Christianity is full of figurative language.  How can we help autistic kids, or any concrete thinker, understand the love of Christ and salvation?

Explain that we are sinners.  We want to choose correctly but we can not. And this means that we can not be close to God.

But, God made a plan to help us get closer to him.  He sent his son, Jesus.  Jesus lived a perfect life on Earth as an example for us.  But we aren't perfect.  We can not do everything perfectly like Jesus.

God needed some one to help us get closer to him.  Jesus died so we could be closer to God.

Salvation means agreeing with God that we need help to be closer to Him.  It means agreeing that Jesus died to make a way for us to be closer to God.  Salvation means that we believe that God loved us enough to send His son to die for us and that Jesus died for us.

When we agree that Jesus died for us so that we can be closer to God, we are saved.  We will live with Jesus in Heaven forever.  Because Jesus loved us, we get to love one another.

Romans 10:9-10 explains this very clearly.  I like the NIV best for clarity...

If you confess with you mouth that Jesus is LORD and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.

The cool thing is that God has a plan to bring everyone to Himself.  Autistic people. Concrete thinkers.  A goofy momma of 3 boys.  Every. One.

For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.  And having chosen them, he called them to come to him.  And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.
Romans 8:29-20 NIV

As Emily Colson's  pastor told her about her autistic son, "God speaks Max's language."

Note: this is not a perfect solution.  This explanation still has some figurative language.  I'd love to hear your suggestions in the comments.

Note: I geared this post towards children because that's the population I have the most experience with.  I would imagine these suggestions will work for adults as well.

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