Today, I am praying for Honesty for my son.
No, I didn’t catch him in a lie today…ha, ha. But, I know that he is not always completely honest. He tends to find a way to “sort of” tell the truth that often satisfies him. To me, this is almost more frightening than an outright lie. At least when one is bold faced lying, he knows it. Yet, my son twists the truth enough to make himself believe he is not really lying, and this is a problem. If he continues to go through life this way, he may one day be standing before God trying to wriggle out of his sins. Yes, I know Jesus will be there, ready to take it all, but we are told to confess our sins and repent. It is hard to confess, and even more difficult to repent, if you have convinced yourself you did nothing wrong.
We all do this, to some extent. Some people twist a truth at work, maybe to move themselves to a better position or to take credit for something. Often, we may twist truths when talking to our friends to make ourselves sound more innocent in a situation.
If your teen or pre-teen has not read “Nothing But the Truth” by Avi, I highly suggest you have him or her read it. It is a very quick read, and it includes so many instances of twisting the truth, leaving out bits of the truth, using words to change the meaning without really “lying”, and so on. When I teach the novel to my students, we often discuss what we are to solemnly swear in a court of law:
Do you promise (how often do we break promises)
To tell the Truth (pretty simple)
The WHOLE Truth (don’t leave any little detail out…even if it makes you look bad)
And NOTHING BUT the Truth (don’t add any embellishment…don’t make someone sound worse or better than they are)
My students always admit they don’t always tell the truth, after really examining these words. I often give them an example. A student gets in trouble at school for talking. The teacher called him down several times, and the student continued to talk. By the 5th time, the teacher gives the student detention.
The student goes home and tells his parents (knowing a phone call is coming soon). He tells his parents he was just leaning over to ask someone a question! This may very well be true, but, the student leaves out the fact that he had already been called down 4 times, and he was not supposed to be talking during that time, anyway. If he had a question, he could have, and should have, asked the teacher. NOT THE WHOLE TRUTH
The same student tells his parents that the teacher is SO MEAN. She does not like him and is always targeting him. Is this NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH? Or is the student painting the picture in a much more negative light to keep it from shining on him?
And…there are countless examples of how we, as adults, do the same things.
I think God, in all of His infinite wisdom, knew what word to use to cover all the bases….DECEITFUL. If you are manipulating the truth in any way, you are being deceitful. Deceitfulness covers it all…and them some!
1 Peter 3:10-16
“Whoever would love life
and see good days
must keep their tongue from evil
and their lips from deceitful speech.
They must turn from evil and do good;
they must seek peace and pursue it.
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous
and his ears are attentive to their prayer,
but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.
Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
Please keep my son from speaking or doing anything deceitful. When he starts to do this Lord, please convict his heart with the most oppressive guilt. Let him feel as if he is standing before You, unable to utter a lie in all that purity and holiness.
Help him to turn from evil, Lord, even when it is so tempting – even when he may be the only one turning away.
Lord God, I don’t ever want your face against my precious child. I love Him so much, and I know You love Him more.
Let him never fear to do or say what is good or right in Your eyes, Lord. I wonder at the world he is facing. It is becoming harder and harder to be a Christian – to share what you believe. He will be ridiculed, I know. He may be persecuted in countless ways, Lord. But please give Him strength not to fall down.
And Lord, yes! Let him have, ready on his lips, his testimony about you – his witness to others. Not an angry, politically motivated type response. Not a hate-filled response. No, rather, Lord, prepare in him a gentle response full of love, gentleness, and respect. Time after time You have shown us this in Your Word. Jesus encountered so many blatant sinners, but when they came to Him, He may have spoken of their sin…but he never called them names….he never yelled at them (except for who? Oh, that’s right – the ones that were so very “right” and religious).
Help my son to love, not hate, to be filled with truth, not deceit. Let him be such a witness for you that even when Satan tries to point out negative things about him, they just don’t measure against the life that he leads.
I know that’s a big prayer, Lord. It is asking a lot. I don’t even have that kind of strength, but I am asking for it for my son. I know this is in Your will, Lord, because it is explicitly written in Your Word.
Thank you for Your Word, Lord.
I ask these things in the name of Jesus. Amen!