When you hear the term “Culture War” what pops into your mind? Gay activists yelling on the steps of the Supreme Court, Christians praying in front of abortion clinics, or perhaps politicians arguing for the removal of a nativity set? Typically, we don’t think about little Johnny lying to his mom. But, we should.
A World of Lies
Every cultural and spiritual battle is ultimately a battle of truth. Think back to Genesis 3. The snake deceived Adam and Eve. Sin arrives via the snake’s lie that God is not good. And sin continues to spread via the lie.
We get angry when we pick up another loss in fantasy Football or when our spouse forgets to empty the dishwasher, because we think victory or an empty dishwasher will bring true happiness. For that moment, we believe a lie.
And we spread lies because we don’t want to insult grandma’s cooking or because we don’t want to suffer the penalties that come with embezzling from our boss. We believe that lying will helps us avoid consequences. But it doesn’t because the perfect Judge sees everything and will hold us accountable when he returns.
Not too surprisingly our world which is ruled by the father of lies, Satan, is dominate by liars. Some researchers estimate that 1 in 5 adults are habitual liars. And this is not a new trend for these grownups. Around 90% of people master the art of deception by the time they turn 4. It turns out that the little white lie is not so little after all. It’s a plague that infests our culture.
Why Kids Lie
As parents, pastors, and lay leaders, we should not be surprised to see kids lie. It happens all the time because most kids are living a lie. Many kids live for good grades, for softball championships, or for having tons of friends. They believe that something other than God can will make them happy. As the apostle Paul wrote, they as are all unrepentant sinners controlled by “deceitful desires” (Eph. 22).
Kids living for a lie will quite naturally be liars. They will lie about report cards and about breaking the lamp. Out of the heart the mouth speaks. When kids have corrupt deceptive hearts, lies will pour out of their mouths. That’s all they know to do.
The solution is truth. First, we have to begin telling the truth. Many kids keep lying long after 4 because their parents lie. “Honey, tell Grandma I’m in the shower.” We have to be faithful truth tellers in our everyday life. Jesus is, “the way the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). To follow him we must proclaim the truth. We must tell others that Jesus is the only way to heaven, and we must take grandma’s phone call.
Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. – Eph. 4:25
Next, we have to confront our kid’s lies. Their lies are not cute or insignificant. They may be bizarre. I had a young family member once tell numerous people that Shamu ate him. Please don’t start punishing kids for being fanciful, but do help them understand that such stories are not true. Even at an early age, kids can learn that truth resides in God and cannot be made up. Reality cannot be remade on a preschooler’s whim. And that which is unnatural cannot be made natural by the Supreme Court. We need to help our kids understand the limits of imagination when confronted with God’s reality.
And lastly, we must discipline our kids for deliberate lies. I lied all the time as a kid, including doctoring my 6th grade math report card for an entire semester. Needless to say my parents were surprised to see that my standardize test ranking was in the 60th percentile. Yeah, turns out all those A’s were not so real after all. I spent the next several summers doing summer school. And as I wrestled with my punishment, I was acutely aware that I was sinner. By punishing me for my lies, my parents took on the lies that were controlling my heart. They showed me that true life and happiness is not found in escaping school work. It’s found in Christ.
By confronting a child’s lie, we can reach past their verbal message to the core of their heart. By championing truth in our homes, we show our kids that they need the savior of truth.
If we want our kids to embrace what the scriptures say about sex, abortion, and money management, we have to affirm truth in our lives and homes. Only truth of Christ can overcome lies of the snake.