Is it ever ok to lie?
The Bible warns against evil lies, but what about “friendly white lies”? Is there even such a thing?
“Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit.” Psalms 34:13
“You must tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”
It is also helpful to discuss the meaning of deception:
to deceive = the action or practice of concealing or misrepresenting the truth
Brainstorm as a family the truthful response to these situations:
- Is withholding information the same as lying?
- What about when we are planning a surprise for grandma?
- How should children respond when they don’t like their birthday gift?
- What if a child really doesn’t enjoy another child’s company or doesn’t want to pursue a friendship?
Sometimes our children make a speaking mistake without intentionally lying. Give them a re-do! Particularly with younger kids who are experimenting with language and make-believe, allow them to re-start their story with “I think…”, “Once upon a time…”, or “I wish…”. This helps to teach them that a story is fun to tell as long as we aren’t deceiving.
- “Today I found a pot of gold!“ While driving, tell the children stories and have them guess whether they are fact or fiction. This will help them distinguish what is real and what is pretend. “Once I ran out of gas and I had to call a tow truck to help me.”,”I just saw a purple cow!”, “The light took forever to turn green.”
Talk to children about earning trust in our every day words:
Proverbs 20:11Even a child is known by his actions, by whether his conduct is pure and right.
Oh, if we could all have the wisdom to know when to stop talking! Spend some time teaching on what to do and say in those situations when we know we’ve already blown it.
Proverbs 30:32 “If you have done foolishly in lifting up yourself, or if you have thought evil, lay your hand on your mouth.”
One humbling method is to stop immediately and apologize, much like an old Jane Austin novel: “Please forgive me, I am not myself today.”
Some examples of honesty found in the Bible are Samuel, David, Nehemiah, Paul and of course Jesus Christ. All things considered, honesty really is the best policy.
A light-hearted honesty test for teens at christianteens.com
Read this story to children about a boy named Daniel having to choose to be honest or dishonest.
Kids of Integrity has a whole section devoted to teaching kids about honesty. For example, serve a food your child really dislikes, and when they absolutely detest it, explain that God hates lies even more.