Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment. Proverbs 12:19
I never fully comprehended the significance of lying when I was growing up. I knew that being untruthful was wrong, but I never came to terms with the moral implications. I can recall many instances when boys asked me for dates and I lied to them because I didn’t want to go. I often lied to my mother when I was about to be caught for something I had done. The implications of this sin did not come home to me until several years after I was married.
I went into the kitchen one day to fix Jim a tuna sandwich. Though he hated mayonnaise, I snuck a small amount into the tuna to hold it together and make it (from my perspective!) better. Jim’s first question when I served the sandwich was, “Did you put mayonnaise in the tuna?” Caught red-handed, I lied. I said, “I know you don’t like mayonnaise. Of course I didn’t put it in your sandwich.” Jim ate his lunch without noticing a thing, but the incident bothered my conscience for days. Finally, I confessed.
Not surprisingly, Jim was very disappointed. He told me, “Marriage must be built on mutual trust. If a husband and wife are honest with each other about the little things, they will not deceive each other about the big things.” We had a long talk about our relationship and committed to each other that lying would not be part of it. I have attempted to live by a higher standard from that moment.
Of the seven things we’re told are detestable to the Lord in Proverbs 6:16–19, two relate to untruthfulness—“a lying tongue” and “a false witness who pours out lies.” Clearly, this is a serious matter in His eyes. Unless a child is too young to understand the difference between fantasy and truth, parents should teach their children with great emphasis that truth be told in all situations.
Of course, honesty will come to your kids most easily if you practice it yourself, especially in your interactions at home. It took me a while to figure that out, but I’m so glad I did. You will be, too.
- Shirley M Dobson