Lying to God

Posted on April 8, 2014 · Posted in Lying, Ruling Desires

This is a unique danger for children raised in Christian homes: lying to God.

In Acts 5 Ananias and his wife Sapphira attempted to make themselves appear more spiritual than those around them. The made a show of being holy by misrepresenting the truth. Peter said, “What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.” They paid for their lie with their lives.

Here is an example of how this pattern of lying to God starts. One sibling sees that his sister is rewarded for cleaning. So, he is careful to inform his mom that he also helped, even if he did not actually do anything. This child realizes that he can benefit if his parents only perceive that he is doing good things. His lie is motivated by the reward or praise he thinks he will receive. He may even agree that God helped him to obey because he knows that is what his parents want to hear. 

If allowed to continue, this deceptive, self-serving attitude may lead to teenagers telling parents they going to a friend’s for bible study or listen to Christian music. But the real intent is to do just the opposite.  This is the dangerous kind of deception that Ananias and Sapphira practiced. 

Another way to unwitting encourage lying to God is to become complacent when your children give only outward compliance to your directions. If you put up with a grumbling, complaining spirit as the price for your child’s obedience, you open the door to lying to God. God desires obedience from the heart, not rote compliance. (Amos 5:21-23; Isaiah 29:13) So, the mindset that says, “At least he took the garbage out, even though he moaned and groaned about it,” totally misses the point of loving God. This child is not being shepherded. Rather he is being encouraged to believe that God can be misled by mere outward compliance to his commands.

Ananias and Sapphira believed that they could trade the appearance of obedience for spiritual status. But God is not mocked. He cannot be deceived. Lying exposes the hypocrisy of the human heart. This is why the Lord detests lying lips. As lies progress beyond mere self-protection to the point of lying to achieve personal desires, the danger of lying directly to God increases. Ananias and Sapphira tried to manipulate the appearance of doing good. The fatal mistake they made was thinking they could deceive God as well as people.

Invest yourself in your children. Know them well enough to discern when their heart is not right. Love them and point them to Christ. Find out what is behind their need for approval. Get at the root of a complaining spirit. Listen well, listen to discern. Following Christ in parenting takes time, invest your moments wisely.

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Jay Younts
John A. (Jay) Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger, and is a ruling elder serving at Redeemer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He has written Everyday Talk, Everyday Talk About Sex & Marriage, Finding the Right Track, the In Touch With Paul stewardship series, and What About War. He has studied and taught about biblical childrearing for 30 years. He and his late wife Ruth have five adult children.