What to do about Lying

Posted on November 30, 2012 · Posted in Gospel, Lying

 

Children’s lies are a harsh reminder of the nature of sin. To fully appreciate the immense power and value of the cross in our lives, we must have a profound sense of the ugliness of sin. This awareness must extend to your children as well. My children and your children come into this world as natural enemies of God. Telling the truth and avoiding deceit  is not natural for them. They seek first and foremost to gratify their own passions and desires, even if it means that others will be harmed. They are by nature children of wrath.  As the Psalmist & Paul say:

Even from birth the wicked go astray; 

    from the womb they are wayward and speak lies. Psalm 58:3

 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience —among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. Ephesians 2:1-3

You must be conscious of the reality of sin in your parenting. Your children are accountable to God. This thought does not sit well with the world, particularly the world as it pertains to the nature of children. G. Stanley Hall, a pioneer in the field of child psychology, described lies as an expression of a child’s mytho-poetic capabilities. Our culture assumes children are from birth.

You will not find 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 a 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!. So, what do you do to confront the lies that your children will tell?

First, understand that your child is not made happy by his lie. As we have seen in the previous posts, there are particular reasons for lies that children tell. 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. In the next and final post we will look at the age specific particulars in addressing children’s lies.

I have divided this last post into 2 sections to make it more accessible to you.

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.