How To Correct A Lying Child
My mouth speaks what is true, for my lips detest wickedness. Proverbs 8:7
A mother once tried to keep her son from lying by saying, “Tell me the truth, John… in the presence of Jesus!” She was right in thinking that God knows whether we’re being truthful, but her tactic of referencing Jesus as if He were a police officer may have resulted in ramifications she didn’t intend.
God isn’t hovering over us, waiting to strike us when we lie. In fact, we misrepresent God if we portray Him simply as interested in controlling behavior. When Jesus said, “I am with you always,” (Matthew 28:20) He didn’t mean in the sense of a giant heavenly eyeball.
We can and should encourage truth-telling and instill knowledge of the presence of God in our children. Yes, my conscience hurts me when I lie because Proverbs 6 teaches me that God hates lies. But 1 John 1:9 teaches me to go to God with my sin and to receive forgiveness. That’s why I should be quick to correct course and confess when I’ve lied.
In the same way, if you suspect that your child is lying, encourage them that even a painful truth and necessary discipline are accompanied by mercy! Remind them that God is our refuge and the binder of our wounds, including self-inflicted wounds. Say to your children, “Please tell me the truth. Even if you’ve made a mistake, we’ll work on it together. God is not angry with you. God loves you and forgives us every time that we sin.”
Resource reading: 1 John 1:5-9