Children tend to lie in two types of circumstances. We looked at the first reason in the last post. The response of immediately trying to deny responsibility comes naturally to us and to our children. Children are fearful of the consequences of their sin and lie to avoid them. Christ must be shown as the one who can bring peace to a fearful heart. It is vital that this pattern be addressed quickly and thoroughly. If it is not, then the habit lying will take root and become a means to other ends.
The next progression in lying is to lie when there is something to be acquired. This type of lie can range from trying to make someone else look bad to scheming to obtain something that cannot be had in a way that pleases God. In both situations the reason for the lie is the same—self-centeredness. But in this second type of lie, the reason for the lie moves beyond mere self-protection to the point of lying to achieve personal desires, even if it means hurting others. The story of Amnon illustrates this type of lie:
“Now Amnon had a friend named Jonadab son of Shimeah, David’s brother. Jonadab was a very shrewd man. He asked Amnon, “Why do you, the king’s son, look so haggard morning after morning? Won’t you tell me?”
Amnon said to him, “I’m in love with Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister.”
”Go to bed and pretend to be ill,” Jonadab said. “When your father comes to see you, say to him, ‘I would like my sister Tamar to come and give me something to eat. Let her prepare the food in my sight so I may watch her and then eat it from her hand.’ ”
So Amnon lay down and pretended to be ill. When the king came to see him, Amnon said to him, “I would like my sister Tamar to come and make some special bread in my sight, so I may eat from her hand.” II Samuel 13:3-6
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