Youthful lusts and lying go hand in hand. Teenagers are unlikely to tell their parents that they want to borrow the car to go to a party for drugs, drinking, sex or looking at porn. No, the story will more likely be along the lines of “… a couple of the guys want to go catch a movie and a pizza. And since Joe is going out of town a I’ll be later than normal, okay? Thanks Dad”! This is what happened with Amnon. He didn’t care about what God wanted. He didn’t care about his father. He only cared about what his father could provide for him—in this case the object of his lust, Tamar.
Notice that Amnon doesn’t even question whether it is appropriate to lie. He eagerly buys into Jonadab’s scheme. When you see this pattern emerge in your children, pray for courage to acknowledge it for what it is. Self-pity is often at the base of these lies. Amnon in the throes of self-pity and lust acted without hesitation in following Jonadab’s scheme. It was a fatal decision.
Parents, if your children are sullen or aloof, they are especially vulnerable to this type of crafty scheming—or to following the direction of those who will scheme for them. Find out why your children are sad, withdrawn or sullen. This behavior is not simply a phase. It indicates a self-centered, troubled heart. If you fail to address throughly the lies of young children, these lies will grow to be life-dominating sins. Merely correcting behavior cannot be the goal here. You must address the heart. Christ alone can take the focus away from self-centered pity. Psalm 139 speaks of this reality.
Amnon trusted Jonadab. Why?
Jonadab was willing to feed Amon’s desires. The narrative makes it clear that Jonadab was a self-serving conniver. A little later in the story we see him trying to use Amnon’s death to advance himself before King David. Amnon trusted Jonadab because Jonadab offered what he wanted. Amnon was like the simple fool in Proverbs 9:13-18. He was led to the slaughter by his own lust.
Do whatever it takes to find out what is troubling your child. Be thankful that God helped you to see these lies. Remember that self-pity is a lie in itself. Self-pity proclaims that God cannot be trusted, that his Word is hollow and empty. Your teenager may think he is being deprived of the fun his friends appear to be having. He may be driven to lies and alienated by pornography. He may be angry that the in-group at church or school ignores him. It is vital to know what is behind the schemes and deceit.
If your older child or teenager is mired in self-pity he has lost sight of trusting God. He most likely does not believe that God can help him with whatever is troubling him. Don’t miss this point! Your teenager may be so convinced because of his guilt and shame that he believes God won’t have anything to do with him. Don’t be afraid to bring the meaning of the gospel to your hurting child.
By pointing to Christ, you point your children in the right direction. Work with them. Lead them toward life that is truly life.