Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Dealing with Lying

“There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him… a lying tongue”

 Proverbs 6: 16-17

“Who has been eating out of the ice cream carton?”  This is what is known as a rhetorical question, i.e. the person who is asking the question isn’t really looking for an answer.  Such was the case when I was confronted by my mother.  It would do no good to lie.  Even better was the fact that I didn’t fear telling the truth. 

Often the propensity to lie in adulthood starts in childhood.  So as a parent it is important that your children know that truth telling has a very high value for you.  It is important for you to, as a parent, and possibly as a spouse, to determine the motivation behind the lie.  Does the child tell the lie in an effort to make himself or herself look better; is it to avoid getting into trouble; is it to avoid embarrassment or shame; or has this become a pattern.

Examine how you respond when your child or spouse does tell the truth.  This becomes a teachable moment.  When you inquire of your children how your favorite vase wound up on the floor in pieces your reaction may shape how your children will be willing to take responsibility for their behavior for years to come. It’s just a vase!  But it is a great opportunity to build character.

 I can encourage truth telling or encourage someone to lie.  If I explode when my wife tells me that she accidently dented the car, I run the risk of having her avoid telling me or lying about it.  It’s just a car!  If I feel the need to conceal the fact that I was not at the office but having a drink with the guys I am headed down a very dangerous path.

 Yelling, screaming, ranting and raving are rarely, if ever, effective ways of responding to a difficult situation.  That doesn’t mean you don’t have the right to be angry or hurt.  It is what you do with your emotions at the time you learn of the infraction that builds up or tears down a relationship.  Nor does it mean that there aren’t consequences for having done something wrong and/or lying about it.

How you choose to respond to bad news and/or catching someone in a lie may determine whether or not your daughter will come to you first when she discovers that she is pregnant out of wed lock; or whether your spouse will admit to viewing pornography.  Whether the situation is serious or as simple as your teenage son coming in after curfew, the individual must believe they are loved unconditionally. Even though there may be consequences to the choices they have made, you will be there to support them.

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