Lying comes naturally. We shouldn’t be shocked when our children lie. They’re born with old sin natures, and that’s what old sin natures do. Man has been lying ever since Adam and Eve believed the lies of Satan, the father of lies.
Because it is sin, lying should be taken seriously. But we must resist our own temptation to sinfully over-react when our children lie. At best, sinful anger, scolding, or belittling will only tempt the child to lie even more to avoid our wrath. At worst, our sinful responses will provoke him to become bitter and unrepentant.
Instead of panicking over lies, we should get excited about the opportunity a child’s lie (or any other sin) gives us to point him to Jesus. We should discipline the liar (“Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him” Proverbs 13:24, ESV). But we shouldn’t fail to give him hope, the hope that only comes from the gospel. We all sin. None of us is good enough to please God. (. . . “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23, ESV).
Remind him that God sent His Son to pay the penalty we deserve for our sin. Jesus didn’t lie so that He could pay the penalty for our lies. When we put our faith in Jesus and His finished work on the cross, God declares us righteous. He sees Jesus’ righteousness, not our sinfulness. He gives us new life and the grace and power to obey Him. He helps us to “put away lying” and to speak the truth with those around us (Ephesians 4:25).
Pray with your child. Thank God for providing His Son to pay for our sins. Thank Him for His grace and the Holy Spirit who will give us strength to obey Him. Thank Him for His love and mercy that freely grants forgiveness when we confess our sins.
Rejoice with your child! If he has put his trust in Jesus, He has a loving heavenly Father who is eager to show mercy, and a compassionate Savior who is faithful to intercede for him.
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:15-16, ESV).