First off, get this: your kids are watching you… ALWAYS watching! [insert creepy music] You are teaching them through your actions and they are soaking it all in.
Do you frequently manipulate the facts to meet an agenda? Do you ask your kids to lie for you by saying “she’s not home” when someone calls? Are you frequently conniving and manipulative? Do your kids watch when you make excuses to a friend for not being at church or work, instead of just being honest? Have you ever worked the system, manipulated the facts or rounded things in your favor? Maybe you don’t even realize you’re doing it half the time, because dishonesty has become so commonplace in your life.
Let’s go beyond the usual scenario, shall we? We’ve all heard stories of how one little lie can grow and lead to another lie, and to another lie, and to another, and so on. We know about the little boy that cried wolf. But as easy as it is to hear those stories and agree, how well are you doing at actually living out a life of truthfulness? What about your over-all honesty level? Do people trust you, or have they grown to take every word you say with a grain of salt?
I’ve felt the bitter sting of being lied to by people I love. My blood boils every time a friend tells me a half-truth to cover a fault or make an excuse. The absolute worst is overhearing a parent “bending the truth” in front of their child, just to get what they want. I don’t like being lied to, because most of the time, I can tell it’s a lie! If you’ve made a habit of bending the truth, you probably don’t realize how often you are doing it, and this is tragic.
Kids don’t need to learn how to lie (that comes naturally), what they learn from their parents, is how to be a “good” liar or to value honesty and openness. Kids that become good at lying at a young age, will inevitably be good at lying in their teenage years (i don’t need to mention how unfortunate for you that will become). In our home, we have established consequences for lying. I want my kids to take the truth seriously. They know that lying is just as bad as fighting with a sibling or disobeying a parent. This is all because I love them. I want to have a trusting relationship with them and I want them to grow into considerate adults that are dependable and trustworthy in their friendships or marriages.
God can’t stomach liars; he loves the company of those who keep their word.
Proverbs 12:22 (MSG)
What this adds up to, then, is this: no more lies, no more pretense. Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ’s body we’re all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself.
Ephesians 4:25 (MSG)