How many times have your children been caught in a lie? They might be little white lies or “big whoppers” as my grandpa used to say, but it seems that most children go through a stage where they feel like they need to tell untruths, for various reasons.
It might be simply because they want to avoid punishment or they’re afraid that you will be upset if they tell the truth.
Sometimes, they’re genuinely being deceitful.
Whenever it happens, it’s easy to feel sorrow over their choice to lie their way out of a situation.
Photo by Caleb Woods on Unsplash
None of us is always perfectly honest.
Because of our fallen nature, we will struggle against this tendency throughout our entire lives.
But for me, personally, for two of our four children so far, once they hit age 7, their lying really amped up to the point where I wasn’t sure I could believe anything at all that came out of their mouths.
One thing that helped was to talk to them about what Scripture says regarding lying and telling the truth.
We can lecture, wring our hands or get frustrated, OR we can go to God’s Word and let that life-giving Word speak the truth, so our kids’ hearts can start desiring to tell the truth.
How Christian Parents Can Talk to Their Children About Lying
Talking to our kids about lying can be done wrong. So we shouldn’t do this in an attempt to demand honesty out of them (because that won’t work) or shame them with Scripture (because that’s the wrong use of God’s Word).
Before you address your child’s truth-telling issues, remember two things:
- The Holy Spirit is the one who convicts and changes their hearts.
- It might take awhile for these changes to set in. Learning honesty is a long process, so don’t be surprised if your child doesn’t “turn it around” after your first conversation.
Recognizing that parenting is a long game helps us to be more patient with our children as their character develops!
5 talking points for conversations with your kids about telling the truth:
1) If you discover your child is lying, it’s best to address it in private so that you don’t embarrass your child. I’ve made the mistake of talking about my kids sins in front of their siblings–not a good choice!
2) Explain to them that lying breaks trust and that you want to have a trusting relationship with them. (Luke 16:10 is a great verse here).
3) Share how God wants our tongues to speak truth and our lips to keep from lies (for comprehension, this point usually works best when they’re 5 or older).
4) Ask questions to find out WHY they are lying. Sometimes it might be that they’re scared you’ll be mad. Or it may be because they feel like they’re going to get someone else in trouble.
5) Reassure your kids that you want them to come to you, and that they don’t have to be afraid of the consequences!
I’ve found it so helpful to tell my children, with sincerity, that truth restores relationships, and that is why I want them to come to me, even if there may be some loss of privileges for lying.
**Remember too that we set an example for our children. If we find ourselves constantly bending the truth or flat-out lying, we can’t be surprised when this bleeds into our children’s life!
In addition to these talking points, I want to equip you with eleven Bible verses that address lying (and truth-telling) so that when this issue comes up in your own home (because it will!), you can show them how God can help them!
11 Bible Verses About Lying (and the Truth)
Psalm 34:13 – Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit. NASB
Luke 16:10 – One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. ESV
Psalm 51:6 – Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being, And in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom. NASB
James 5:12 – But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation. ESV
Colossians 3:17 – And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. NIV
1 Peter 3:10 – For the Scriptures say, “If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies. NLT
Proverbs 12:19 – Truthful lips will be established forever, but a lying tongue is only for a moment. NASB
Ephesians 4:25 – Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. ESV
1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. NIV
Zech 8:16 – These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another; render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace. ESV
Proverbs 28:13 – Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy. ESV
Want to dig deeper into this issue of lying? Need help using Scripture and practical advice that will transform your children’s hearts (and tongues)?
My family devotional, Minding Your Mouth: A Biblical Study on the Discipline of Taming the Tongue, can help you with that!
This digital, printable 10 lesson family Bible study will guide you through talking with your kids about verses of Scripture that address the impact of our thoughts and words PLUS Biblical applications from these verses that can be used in everyday life.
There are also lots of activities included to reinforce these truths to help these words from God create heart change in your child.
Let God’s Word guide your kids’ words!