Lying and the pursuit of sinful desires go hand-in-hand. For example:
Teenagers are unlikely to tell their parents that they want to borrow the car to go to a party with drugs, drinking, and sex. No, the story will more likely be along the lines of “… a couple of the guys want to go catch a movie and a pizza. And since Joe has to go back to school in a couple of days, I’ll be later than normal, okay? Thanks, Dad!”
Lying becomes more sophisticated as children grow older. The lies progress from immediate cover-ups and blame-shifting to more elaborate plans and schemes designed to acquire objects, favors or, as noted, to feed lustful desires. This type of lie can range from trying to make someone else look bad, to scheming to get something that can only be obtained by lying. The reason for this type of lie is beyond mere self-protection and advances to craving selfish desires, even if it means hurting others.
This type of lying indicates following the ways of darkness (Eph. 2:1-3). This lie represents a scheming, crafty motivation. Often a young child will blurt out a lie that is foolish. For example, with cookie crumbs all over his face and shirt, your son says, “I didn’t eat the cookie, Mommy.” The scheming liar, the crafty one, makes sure his face is clean and the cookie crumbs are on his sister’s shirt when he lies.
Parents, there is a real danger here. Proverbs 12:19-20 points this out:
Truthful lips endure forever,
but a lying tongue lasts only a moment.
Deceit is in the hearts of those who plot evil,
but those who promote peace have joy.
Here are just a few takeaways from these proverbs:
- Lying is focused on the moment.
- Truth-telling is focused on eternity.
- Lying seeks to avoid the consequences of sin.
- Truth-telling promotes peace, even if it means confession.
- Lying is shrouded in deceit and evil scheming.
- Truth-telling brings joy and stability.
You must be vigilant to detect the underlying attitudes that accompany this type of lie. Scheming and dark heart issues will grow and fester into controlling desires. These lustful desires can seriously damage your children’s lives if they remain uncovered.
Parents, if your children are often sullen or aloof, this may be an indication of this crafty scheming. Lovingly and patiently invest the time to find out why your children are sad, withdrawn or sullen. This behavior is not simply a phase. It indicates a self-centered, troubled heart. This is not the time to demand answers, but to gently and graciously address issues of their heart. If you don’t, these issues will grow to be life-dominating sins. Merely correcting behavior cannot be the goal here. You must address the heart. Do whatever it takes to find out what is troubling your child. Be thankful that God helped you to see these lies and the underlying heart attitudes.
We have more levels to look at in this progression of lying. Look for an upcoming post about lying to God. May God provide you the grace necessary to battle this sin of lying and lead your children to the rich life of knowing and speaking the truth of Christ in love.
This post originally appeared on Shepherd Press and was republished with permission.
Jay Younts is the author of Everyday Talk, Everyday Talk About Sex & Marriage, and he is the Shepherd Press blogger. He is a ruling elder at Redeemer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He and his late wife Ruth have five adult children.