The problem with lies

Posted on October 23, 2017 · Posted in Instructing, Parenting

Children’s lies are a harsh reminder of the ugliness of sin. Your children come into this world as natural enemies of God. Telling the truth and avoiding deceit  is not natural for them or you. Ephesians 2 teaches that we all seek first and foremost to gratify our own passions and desires, even if it means that others will be harmed. We are by nature children of wrath.  The Psalmist agrees in Psalm 58:3:

Even from birth the wicked go astray;
from the womb they are wayward and speak lies.

There is not much support from the world around you for the idea that children are objects of wrath. But that doesn’t change reality. Recognizing the true nature of a baby is one of the great tests of faith. I have never been so blown away as I was when seeing each of my five children for the first time. Babies outwardly evoke hope and joy and the promise of new life. But the reality is that these precious children are in fact children of wrath. Their hope, even though they don’t recognize it at birth, is that faithful parents will proclaim to them the glorious gospel of God’s grace which alone can transform them into children of the King.

So, in a sense you should not be shocked when children lie. You must not be falsely romantic and think that somehow your child is immune to the ugliness of sin. In reality, your child was born to lie!. What do you do to confront the lies that your children will tell?

Recognize that your child is not made happy by his lie. Sin, at its core, is deceptive. Lying builds distrust of others. A child who lies is a child that is hurting. He is a child who will become self-focused and insecure about his relationship with others, especially his parents. He is a child who is not able to trust others. Parent, your first step in dealing with lies is to have compassion for your child. The most profound way to demonstrate that compassion is to lovingly bring the word of God and the gospel to bear upon those lies. Model the beauty of telling the truth before a gracious God.

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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.