Telling the truth is more than just saying what is true

Posted on October 2, 2013 · Posted in Communication, Wisdom

No child is born wise. Wisdom is a skill that must be acquired. If you are waiting for your child to grow up and begin to make wise choices, you will be waiting a long time. Ruth Younts says that Christian “wisdom is knowing and understanding the truth, obeying the truth, and making wise decisions based on the truth.” This is why Proverbs is adamant that we must get wisdom.

Imparting God’s wisdom is far more than information transfer. 

Providing God’s wisdom to your children begins with the gospel. Apart from embracing the gospel, no one will even desire to be biblically wise. Wisdom is living a life that is oriented toward God, toward honoring God in each decision that is made. So if you want your child not to lie, you must first teach them what truthfulness is. This gets to the heart of the matter. Wisdom teaches your child that telling the truth is more than just saying things that are true. No, I am not being redundant or having a mental time-out. Truthfulness is telling information accurately, without exaggerating or misleading. Your child needs wisdom to be truthful. If all that is required is to say words that are true, it is still possible to mislead others. Being wise in truth telling takes a conscious effort to supply accurate information that honors God and not self. As you know, it is possible to say things that are accurate but do not tell the whole truth. This is the distinction that you must teach to your children. A statement can be full of words that are true and still be a lie. 

To be a biblical truth-teller requires a heart that seeks wisdom and fears God. Teach your children to say more than what is true. Teach them to tell the truth.  Teach them to seek wisdom that comes only from a heart captured by the gospel.

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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.