Honesty: The Best Policy

A minister told his congregation, “Next week I plan to preach about the sin of lying. To help you understand my sermon, I want you all to read Mark 17.” The following Sunday, as he prepared to deliver his sermon, the minister asked for a show of hands of those who has read Mark 17. Every hand went up. The minister smiled and said, “Mark has only sixteen chapters. I will now proceed with my sermon on the sin of lying.”

Being honest is often hard for children (and adults!). Sometimes it can be easier to lie rather than tell the truth. One of the most important things we can instill in children is the great importance of honesty and the positive effect it will have on their lives.  It will impact their relationships through life, but especially their relationship with the Lord. As we read in the Bible, lying is one of God’s most despised sins – actually one of His top seven.

There are six things the Lord hates – no, seven things He detests:  haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent, a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong, a false witness who pours out lies, a person who sows discord in a family. Proverbs 6:16-19 (NLT)

It’s important to instill honesty into your children and not to pass off telling lies as childish behavior. God does not take lying lightly and neither should we. Being that the Bible says that all liars will have their part in the lake that burns with fire (Revelation 21:8) shows just how important honesty is to the Lord. It’s our responsibility to teach our children this life-saving principle.

Let’s see what God’s Word tells about lying…

  • Telling lies about others is as harmful as hitting them with an ax… (Proverbs 25:18)
  • A false witness will not go unpunished, nor will a liar escape. (Proverbs 19:5)
  • He detests lying lips, but He delights in those who tell the truth. (Proverbs 12:22)
  • What are worthless and wicked people like? They are constant liars. (Proverbs 6:12)

I would recommend having your children memorize these scriptures so when they are tempted to lie, these scriptures will come forward in their minds and could help them to be honest.

It is good to teach our kids that when they are caught lying, the punishment is much worse than the wrong they did (and be consistent with the discipline). If they get punished far worse for saying they didn’t do it than for knocking over the antique vase, they will think twice when tempted to lie the next time. As parents, we must do our best to keep lying out of the heart and lips of our child. This is part of creating a masterpiece.

  • Tell them stories of those that lied and what the consequences were for them.  
  • If they tell the truth in a tough situation, let the punishment be lighter than if they lie.
  • Never condone a lie for any reason. If they think they can get by with it once, they will continue to lie in the future.
  • Don’t give them the benefit of the doubt. Know them well enough so that you can tell when they are lying. This is when we as parents need God’s wisdom and know how to listen to His voice.  
  • The more a child lies, the easier it gets for them. Some are professional after a while and it really is hard to tell the truth from the lie.
  • Trust is to be earned and not just accepted. We have seen kids lie while the parent sits there and chooses to believe them. Perhaps they don’t want to admit that their child would lie??

It helps tremendously if a parent works to get their relationship with their child to where they feel comfortable to share anything with them. If a parent freaks out every time a child does something wrong (drama prize winner), the child may not be as open to them. Remember, discipline can be done with a soft, but stern word and do more than screaming and a mouthful of hurtful words.

Parents, I would imagine every kid has lied some time or another, and that includes us; so let’s be careful how we handle a lie told by our child. Ask God to help us handle it with much wisdom. Let’s pray earnestly about this subject and ask God to reveal to us when our child is being untruthful. There are books out that help teach us how to tell if someone is telling the truth. If you desire more knowledge, I suggest researching this topic. It will help in parenting.   

If you plant honesty, you will reap trust.

Kids learn honesty from us as parents. We never should tell a lie, just as we teach our kids – no matter how small and insignificant it may seem. If your child catches you in a lie, then what you insist they do will be almost impossible to enforce. Think about the message you are sending to your kids the next time you give a dishonest reason to your mother-in-law of why you are canceling lunch with her. 🙂

Bottom line – be an honest example for your kids. Any form of lying is not condoned by God. As a Christian home, honesty is the best policy for our family.

To Do: Take time to pray and ask the Lord to reveal to you when or if your child is not being truthful. Teach your children scriptures on the effects of lying. Have talks with them about how dishonesty is despised by God and you. Teach them that they will never win by lying.  

Suggested Family Time: Have a fun family night by creating skits to perform for each other.  You can come up with a theme and then dress up accordingly to make it even more fun. For examples: the crowning of a king and queen, a hillbilly wedding or a church service with one of them as the preacher and the others as the audience. Use your imagination and get them thinking of themes too. Again, of course, bring out the camera!!

Time to Smile: A twelve year old boy asked his mom for a picture of when she was a baby for a school project. The mother quickly gave him one without asking what the project was.  A few days later the mom was visiting the classroom when she noticed her face pinned to a mural the students had created. The title of the project was “The oldest thing in my house.”

Recommended Reading: Imparting the Blessing to Your Children by William T. Ligon, Sr.

Previous Recap: Kids & Respect. A respectful child is part of a masterpiece for sure.  All children need to understand what respect is and how to show it. It’s so enjoyable to be around a child that shows respect to those in a position of authority. Let’s make it a priority to continue to embed in their young hearts the importance of respect since that attribute will make them a respected adult themselves one day.

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