Yep. That was me. The Child Proselytiser. As a born again Christian, I knew that my non-Christian best friend, Lisa Jones, would be headed for Hell if she didn’t accept Christ.
Now, I had to be really tactful about this, because I knew her father had committed suicide and was probably in Hell. I waited a few weeks for the perfect time to talk to her about it, and felt awfully guilty every time I chickened out of it.
But one day I worked up the courage. While we were playing in my backyard, I explained how she would end up in Hell if she didn’t accept Jesus. I asked her to pray to him for forgiveness and she said she’d think about it.
I felt really uncomfortable about the whole situation. I never really wanted to do it, but I felt like I had no choice, God was asking me to and I would be a bad Christian if I didn’t.
Looking back on it now, I am embarrassed and ashamed that I said such things to poor Lisa. In the end, Lisa never converted, but we were still good friends, she even came to church a few times.
What I think was really wrong about the whole situation was the fact that my faith made me do something I didn’t want to do. Something I felt was not only socially unacceptable, but morally uncomfortable. My fear for her eternity overwrote my kindness and respect. This isn’t healthy, especially for a ten year old whose morals and personality are still forming.
Children should be children. They should be carefree. The knowledge that non-Christians are going to Hell is a huge burden for a child to carry. It casts a shadow over everything. It’s a huge responsibility and not something I was ready to deal with at ten years old.
Please don’t do this to your kids.