By Michele L. Brown
My 9-year-old stepdaughter had gotten into my purse and helped herself to gum without asking, and when I picked the wrapper up from the floor she tried to say her friend had given it to her. This particular lie was actually the third blatant lie I had heard from my kids’ lips just that day, being the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back! Frustration got the best of me, as I tried to wrap my mind around how easy it is for the children of today to spit out utter lies! So, with a loud not-so-nice yell, I asked,
“Where did you learn to lie so much?”
Looking back, I wasn’t prepared for her answer but, by the Grace of God that rhetorical question and the answer I received, ultimately changed my life. It absolutely redefined my perspective of the influence I have over those around me and the responsibility that it carries.
How detrimental is a piece of gum? I wouldn’t think that it’s that important, not enough to cause me to sin. Or would I, without even batting an eye?
A few hours earlier, the first lie of the day had surfaced during an argument between the boys that escalated from name calling to the older son telling the youngest one, the dreaded “I hate you!” Though I knew that it had to be addressed, I was all too familiar with my own fits of rage producing hurtful words that I didn’t really mean. After a brief discussion, it was agreed that the statement made in anger and was far from the truth. He apologized, and did his best to assure the little one that he loved him very much. Within a short period, the tables were turned and the 4-year-old stood before me soaking wet, next a mud puddle; emphatically stating his innocence, “I didn’t do it, Nik threw the water on me!”
The whole day had been filled with lies, lies and more lies and by the time that the gum situation occurred; I just had enough! My immediate thought was in order to stop the lies; we must see where it started. Admittedly, I presumed that our family would be turning into a radio-free, non-television watching, no internet surfing, Rated R-less family when my question got answered. Why’d children become so accustomed to telling lies to get their way, get out of trouble, impress someone, or whatever the case may be, somehow the solution to every situation seemed to be to lie. Where did you learn this from? I wasn’t prepared.
- “Daddy lies every time you ask him if he’s been drinking!”
- “You told the lady at the restaurant I was only 6 to get my food cheaper.”
- “You told Daddy your shoes cost $10.00, but you gave the lady $25.00.”
- “Daddy told Aunt Jackie he is allergic to carrots, but we know he doesn’t like them.”
- “You and Daddy told the Pastor that you had to work, but we were camping and couldn’t go to the fundraiser.” (ouch… that one was painful)
- “Daddy told that officer that he had his seatbelt on, but he never wears it.”
- “You told your boss you were sick, but we went to see Grandma.”
- “You said you didn’t have money to go to the movies, but then you bought Daddy another pair of boots.”
- “Aunty told you she was taking us to the mall, but we went to see a man.”
- “Grandma told you we didn’t eat any junk food, but that’s all we ate.”
- “You told Nik his shoes were new, but we got them at that garage sale.”
- “You told GiGi you quit smoking, but you kept hiding in the back yard to smoke.”
Somewhere, we as a society have excluded white lies from “thou shall not lie.” Of course, we’re not only sinfully wrong; but as I submit to my readers, we are also being a horrible example to the next generation. I decided after hearing this long list of infractions to find solutions.
The verdict was in, it wasn’t TV, radio, movies or other children that had been bad influences on my children… it was me. I wasn’t the only one, but at that moment; all I knew was that my name was certainly high enough on the list of suspects that I had to face it… Change had to begin with me!
I googled ‘deception.’
Do you remember Rebekah in the Bible? She convinced her son Jacob to claim to be his brother to their father in order to receive the blessing meant for the first born son. Sadly, when the young man’s mother first presented her dishonest scheme to the younger son; he didn’t want to do it… but then she convinced him to go ahead and deliberately deceive his father for gain.
Let’s not prepare the hanging tree for Mother Rebekah, just yet. Allow me the role of ‘Devil’s advocate’ for just a moment, in honor of well-meaning mothers. Her reasoning was rather simple; she was operating from her heart. Simply put, she wanted the best for her son, and like many of us she justified the means to an end; even if she had to manipulate God to get it.
Ponder that just for a moment. Can we ever manipulate what God has in store for us? Can we cheat to win something from God in any way at all?
Close your eyes… imagine God’s face as we pull strings, tell fibs, fabricate details and go to such great lengths to manipulate (him) situations. Oh don’t get me wrong, we never see it for what it is…. But when we put our hands on things to make things happen, we are trying to manipulate GOD. We think we can do a better job.
“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”
As an adult, Jacob himself was deceived several times by people close to him. Some say it was him reaping the harvest of deception seeds he had planted so many years prior.
First, Jacob worked for seven years to marry Laban’s beautiful daughter, Rachel; however on the wedding night, it was the less attractive (maybe even homely) sister Leah who he consummated with. Determined to have his beloved Rachel, he agreed to work yet another 7 years to marry her. The first child they bore, Joseph was Jacob’s favorite which caused much jealousy, envy and strife among the other brothers. Once again, Jacob was deceived when in an attempt to get rid of their brother, the older sons first tried to kill him, but then sold him into slavery; but led their father to believe he’d been killed by a wild animal.
BUT then there was GRACE!
Romans 5:20 – Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
The proof is in that very same story. We know after reading about Jacob’s life, he … he ended up being a very blessed man IN God’s time and God’s way. We also know that Joseph, son of Jacob was used in a mighty way even despite his own brothers’ hatred of him. Joseph even comforted his brothers who feared retaliation for all they had done to him.
Genesis 50:20 – But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.
I am reminded through this lesson that my actions now are forming my kids into who they will be, and what they will one day teach their children. As I am now faced with the challenge of eradicating all forms of dishonesty, even in their mildest form from our home; I am determined to live by example so that my kids aren’t confused by my hypocrisy. I now realize the seriousness of this not-so-minor habit. Lord knows, our children face enough from the world as it is, I sure don’t want my actions to make anything harder on them, or put any habits in them that later God himself will have to burn away.
We, as a family, are more open and honest, even admitting when we’re tempted by dishonesty and discuss as a family the benefits of always being truthful. This, like all growth is a bit painful, even awkward at times; but it is rewarding to know that even as parents, we need correction and as a result, the children are learning a life lesson that will be beneficial to them forever.
Proverbs 22:6 – Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
About Michele L. Brown
Michele is a giddy Christian; nothing excites her more than the opportunity to talk about Jesus’ love. She’s a proud Wife and (step) Mother and her hobbies are writing about Christian life, fishing, cooking and sewing. Michele plans to release her first novel in December of 2016.