This past week I had to deal with a lying issue in my house. It’s interesting how one person can interpret something as a lie while another person can interpret it as…well, not a lie.
Let me explain. A particular child was told that he would not be allowed to go somewhere he really wanted to go until his room was clean. As said child was getting ready to leave, I asked if his room was finished. He said, “Yes.” Knowing him as I do I decided to ask a more specific follow up question, “Are you sure it is clean to my standard?” He assured me it was.
After he left, I had to walk by his room to do something. I glanced into his room and when I did, I felt my blood pressure rise. In fact, if I had been wearing a blood pressure cuff, it would have exploded.
There is no doubt that my definition of clean and my “soon to be grounded for life” child’s definition of clean are very different. However, even he knows that if his room looks like a category 5 hurricane just blew through, it is not clean!
I rehearsed over in my mind what I was going to say and do to him when he got home. Then God gently nudged me. Oh, I hate it when He does that because I would so rather deal with someone else’s sin issue than to deal with my own. He reminded me of a few things that He had showed me when I was writing a bible study this past year. Thought I would share it with you – I don’t like squirming alone!
We know that telling a false statement with the intent to deceive is lying. For a lot of us, we tend to break lying up into three categories: a blatant lie, a necessary lie, and a little white lie (emphasis on little and white).
Shame on those who tell blatant lies; we have little tolerance for them. We only tell lies when it is necessary…like to keep a friend from getting her feelings hurt. For example, instead of admitting that we forgot to show up at a friend’s house for a “whatever” party and risk her
being upset with us, we explain that there was a serious emergency that we had to tend to and we are so sorry because we really wanted to come. Never mind the fact that lying to her will hurt her feelings and will make her more upset with us – even more so than if we didn’t lie to her to keep from hurting her feelings…whatever, you get the picture.
Then there are those little white lies. These are somewhat controversial. There is confusion as to when what we say actually crosses the line and becomes a lie. Is 40% truth and 60% lie an actual lie? What about those half-truths? You know, the 50-50 ones? Into what category do they fall? Exactly how much truth do we include in our telling in order for it to be counted as truth and not a lie?
Anyone else besides me sweating?
The truth of the matter is this, if something is not true it is false. Now, let’s not muddy the water here with the “but what ifs.” If I tell my husband that I am going to the grocery store, when in fact I am going to pick up his new golf clubs that I am giving him for his birthday, am I lying? The answer is, “Yes.” But, later I will have no problem telling him what I did. My intent was to surprise him not hurt him or keep myself out of trouble.
Here is a good way to measure whether I am falling into sin or not – what is the intent of my heart? If I have no qualms about “confessing” that what I said was not true later, chances are I’m not falling into sin. On the other hand, if I cannot easily “confess” or if I have no intention of “confessing” later, chances are I have just nose-dived into sin.
Proverbs 6: 16-19 says, “ There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.”
God puts lying and murder in the same category of things He hates. Nowhere in scripture can I find a verse that differentiates between blatant lies and white lies. I looked hard; trust me.
So, in light of the nudge I got from my Father, I decided to dole out my child’s punishment with more grace and humility. Maybe being grounded for the rest of his life was a bit too harsh. I decided on a week instead. I also decided to be more diligent in evaluating the words that come out of my mouth so that I might please my Heavenly Father and so that I might train my children to be lovers of truth by setting before them an example of a mother who strives to be truthful in all she says.
Have a great week!
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