A Helpful Resource That Teaches Children About Sin, Conviction, and the Gospel

It's never too early to teach children about sin and what God says about it. In fact, I always say the earlier the better. As a Christian family, this is a topic that we began discussing many years ago when my son was a wee little one. Most children typically learn the difference between right and wrong early on, but taking it a step further to discuss when it means for their own eternity and the one way that they can be washed clean, is vital for their salvation. It also helps pave the way for their walk with God.

Recently, we've been reading a brand new book called Don't Blame the Mud Only Jesus Makes Us Clean by author and pastor, Marty Machowski. This book teaches children that there is only one way to be washed clean of our sins, and that is through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ from his death on the cross. It also discusses consequences for making wrong choices and how to recognize temptation, so that sin can be stopped in its tracks.


By clearly articulating the gospel, Don’t Blame the Mud helps parents create an environment of confession so kids can own up to their own mistakes—in the freedom of Christ—rather than place the blame elsewhere. Parents, teachers, and caretakers can help children identify with the real-life draw of temptation and the real-life consequences of sin, understanding the value of God’s salvation through the cross. Instead of teaching kids how to deal with a problem, Machowski uncovers the real issue of sin and provides a gospel answer.

Marty Machowski is a Family Life Pastor at Covenant Fellowship Church in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, where he has served on the pastoral staff for over thirty years. He is the author of The Gospel Story Bible, Long Story Short, Old Story New, the Gospel Story Curriculum, the Prepare Him Room advent devotional and curriculum, Wise Up family devotional and curriculum, Listen Up family devotional and curriculum, Dragon Seed, and The Ology. He and his wife Lois have six children and two grandchildren, and they reside in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

Don't Blame the Mud follows around a little boy named Max. He is coming home from school and remembers his mother's warning to not get his school uniform all dirty. She specifically asked him to come straight home and change before he goes outside to play, but Max sees no harm in going off the beaten path thorough a new trail along the creek. Soon he is hopping on rocks and chasing a frog, doing the complete opposite of what his mother had specifically requested. After all, he thinks there's no harm in it, and since he's not getting dirty how will she ever know? Of course, things take a turn for the worse when Max suddenly falls into a big puddle of mud and finds himself filthy from head to toe. He tries to sneak back home into his room without his parents discovering what he's done, but he is not as clever as he thinks and eventually gets caught.

Even after he washes all of the mud off his body, he still doesn't feel clean. His father reminds him that the feeling he's experiencing is something called guilt. Max then begins to learn a very important lesson on sin and how there really is only one way to be redeemed from it, and it's through Jesus Christ. Max had heard the story of Jesus' death many times before, but this time it had extra special meaning to him given the recent events. He now had a firsthand encounter of why it is so important to resist temptation.

The illustrations are really interesting as they depict this blob of mud (with facial expressions and all) following Max around. While in this instance the story involves an actual mud puddle, the mud also represents sin and how it can come in many forms. It first follows Max around, tempting him to slip up. Once he makes the mistake, the mud trails after him and almost taunts him, reminding him that he had done something wrong. There is a very important lesson to be learned about being accountable for our own actions and why we should resist temptation. I really like how the story's text and illustrations use a more relatable circumstance that younger children are more apt to understand.

There are additional features in the back of the book to help open the door to further discussions between parents and children. These talking points include helping children understand sin and what the Bible says about it, as well as an introduction to the Gospel and how to spread the good news to others. These extra discussions will create a wonderful opportunity for children and even adults to learn what it means to have a repentant heart and turn to Christ for salvation.

Don't Blame the Mud Only Jesus Makes Us Clean is an effective resource that parents can use to help teach their children about sin, conviction, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.