When you and I lie we sometimes tend to treat the problem as one of self-protection. We lie because we can’t allow others to know what we really are inside. The hard truth is that you and I are born liars. We are blinded by self-interest (Proverbs 4:19; Psalm 58:3).
Lying is the extension of a self-centered nature. You tend to lie in three types of circumstances. First, when you fear a consequence so much that you will do anything to avoid it. Second, you tend to lie when there is something you eagerly desire, and fudging the truth a bit seems to be the best way to get it. In both situations the reason for the lie is the same—a self-centered heart. Thirdly, lying is connected to keeping others from seeing your true motivations and the ugliness of your own heart. We think we can and must hide our thoughts and doubts, and a lie is the best way to solve the problem.
However, nothing is hidden from God.
Lying is an indication that all of us are much more self-aware of our flaws than we realize. You tend to alter the truth when you fear of being exposed for who you really are. It is compelling evidence of our true heritage: original sin.
Like your children you don’t have to be taught to lie, it comes naturally. So how do you overcome lying, the subtle lying that shades the truth to put you in the best light?
The answer is Christ. At the root of lying is a heart in need of Christ. Without Christ, fear dominates. Fear can make you stupidly deny the truth, just as Sarah, Abraham’s wife, did. Fear can drive you to do whatever is necessary to protect yourself.
Only Christ can help you overcome the fear of self-exposure. Only the power of the Gospel can free you from the tyranny of lying. God knows whether you have been truthful or not. (Proverbs 5:21) It is sometimes difficult to realize that a defiant, defensive attitude is actually driven by fear of exposure for what we really are.
Ephesians 4 says that the opposite of lying is truth-telling. If you make your lies primarily an issue between you and other people you are actually distorting the truth. Lying is a deeply personal sin of the heart directly against God. Only Christ can address this issue. You won’t be able to end patterns of lying by your own efforts. You will need the help and encouragement of God’s people and the his Spirit to be free of lying.
If you want to biblically and successfully address the issue of lying in your children, you must first address it your own heart.