In our family Bible reading recently, one of the kids interrupted to ask, “What is an idol?” Jason explained that an idol can be anything that we love more than we love God. That seemed to satisfy the question, and we went on.
Then yesterday over lunch one of the girls surprised me by saying she wasn’t going to sleep with her animal toys any more. “I quit sleeping with them because they are idols because I love them more than God.” I was quite shocked by her admission as it seemed to come from nowhere.
For a minute I pondered how or what I should counsel about her statement. I could point out the flaws of loving the gift more than the Giver, or I could tell her that her toys aren’t sinful and how not using them isn’t going to fix the lack of love for God. I was also glad she was thinking about what might be idols in her life and glad that it bothered her.
I must have pondered too long because her sister spoke up, “I love my animal toys too, but not more than God. I love them a lot but they aren’t idols,” she sounded kind of horrified. At this point I wondered if I should address the seemingly self righteous attitudes from this child instead when I heard her add very softly under her breath, “That’s because I don’t know what idols are.”