"Therefore, each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body."
We can all admit that we have told lies during our lives, some bigger than others, but it can be hard to handle when we observe our children doing it. As Christian parents, we should be loving but intentional in stopping our children from developing a bad habit of deceitfulness.
There are several passages in the Bible that discourage deception and promote honesty. The verse for today’s blog is one of my favorites - Ephesians 4:25. As a Christian family, parents should stress that we are all a part of the body of Christ, and should work together for His sake, a task that cannot be accomplished when a member of that body is untruthful. Another verse is Proverbs 12:22 “The Lord detests lying lips, but He delights in men who are truthful.” As I have recommended before, write these and other Bible verses down and help your children to memorize them. Talk with them daily about what God expects of them – honesty and love.
When you catch your children telling a lie, do not justify it by calling it “cute” or “harmless”. This can be very confusing to a child. Where do you draw the line between a “harmless” lie and a lie that causes “harm”? All lies should be immediately addressed and discouraged.
Since I love to promote reading, there are three stories about lying from which children can learn: The Emperor’s New Clothes, The Boy Who Cried Wolf, and Pinocchio. Read them with your children and discuss what is happening in each story. Ask them questions to generate their thinking processes about telling lies. For example, what could the character in the story have done differently, instead of lying? What would have happened then?
Of particular concern is looking for opportunities to praise your children for telling the truth. Too often, we parents focus on the negative. What better way to instill honesty but by parents catching their children being truthful and immediately praising them for it. Positive attention builds more and more positive habits and self-confidence while repeated negative attention erodes a child’s well-being and image of who he is in Christ.
As I have matured in my relationship with the Lord and in my years, I have come to appreciate honesty more and more. Even though so-called small white lies can be explained away, I ask myself “why should I even do that?” Nowhere in the Bible does it say we can tell certain lies but not others. It’s all in the way we frame our words, with the goal of being true to the Word.