A few weeks back, I caught my daughter denying the truth for the first very first time. She not only did it once, but three times. The issue: her wooden pencils filled with teeth marks.
She was in the shower while I was checking her assignment notebook and fixing her bag. I randomly checked her pencil case and saw that her pencils looked very worn out, bitten and ugly, considering she has only been in school for five weeks at that time. Sure that those marks were hers, I asked in a casual tone:
“Gummy why do you bite your pencils?”
She replied, full of conviction and without flinching, “No, I didn’t.”
I said, “You didn’t bite your pencils?”
“No, you didn’t?”
“Gummy, I will ask you one last time, did you bite your pencils?” And she just looked down, dropped her shoulders and let go of a heavy sigh.
I thought to myself, ‘Whatever happened to my daughter who has been growing up with me all these years? Who’s been carefully taught and trained to always tell the truth right away when asked? Why does she lie? Who taught her how to lie?’
The answer my co-parents lies in our sinful nature. Remember Proverbs 22:15 that folly is bound up in the heart of a child? It is our natural sinful tendency to respond with a lie when we sense the danger of being hurt, or hurting others; and we want to spare ourselves from that. Of course I have lied several times before. Because I was saving myself or sparing the ones I love from being hurt. But not because it’s natural and familiar, doesn’t mean it is acceptable.
After her shower, I sat with her and asked with a composed, controlled but very stern tone: “Why did you lie to me? Why do you lie? Why did you feel the need to lie to me? Are you forgetting that I am your mother? That mothers know and will always know the truth? Did I not tell you that God has a way of telling mothers if their children are lying, and not saying something they should?” I was venting, yes. In my frustration, I almost asked: “Do you think I am stupid and I will not figure it out?”
Her lying to my face insulted me and my intelligence. But then this feeling has no room for the wisdom I should be sharing. It would’ve been an offense to me rather than a disobedience to God. If I gave in to my temper, I would’ve lost my point altogether.
What most people to not realize is that when they lie, the moment they decided to do so, they have already hurt the person whom they are trying to protect [with lies]. They fail to understand that ultimately, the person they deceive is themselves. Not even God because God sees all. In fact God knew before the lie was even thought of.
After administering the rod, [which I will admit was a struggle for me that time because inside I was furious and insulted but I could not and should not be controlled by my offended emotions, but by The Spirit and wisdom], and explaining that pencil is not food therefore it should not be placed in the mouth, especially since it has lead, which is toxic; as part of our restoration, I gave her three new pencils which I labelled as a way to check if she —would still bite them. Praise God she never did after that incident. She understood the point, received grace; was restored to Mummy – who was her best friend and ultimately restored to the Lord after feeling little and embarrassed in front of the big God who knows all things.
A week after the pencil incident, Gummy broke my make up mirror and she took a photo and sent it to me over at Viber. I called her up and forgave her instantly and reassured her that she did the right thing. She is forgiven for simply telling the truth right away. I thanked her for not waiting for me to look for the mirror first before revealing to me what happened.
I know there will be times my daughter will be tempted to lie to me. But I will not stop reminding her the destructive effects of this sin. Big lie or white lie, a lie is a lie. Even not saying is lying. Make sure that as parents, we teach our children this valuable lesson of honesty early. And reinforce positively when they do volunteer the truth. We do not want to raise a generation of pathological liars.
Here are some biblical truths about lying and why we shouldn’t lie. Because out of all the commands, it is part of the top ten. “Thou shall not lie.” We are instructed to do that which is honest (2 Cor 13:7) and because “the Lord detests lying lips but He delights in those who tell the truth.” (Proverbs 12:22).
We only want to please the Lord, and therefore we must always tell the truth.