Like all kids, my grandkids will try to spin the truth at times, especially if it is to their advantage to do so.
“I have no idea who did that” turns to “actually I think so-and-so did it” and then to “well he sort of made me do it.” They haven’t figured out the finesse of deception well enough to get by with it consistently and I hope they never do! I find them pretty easy to still “read.” Evolving stories. Downcast faces. No eye contact. A fretful disposition. This gives me hope that deception has not become a comfortable pattern for them.
Honesty was a virtue my father highly esteemed. I pray that my own grandchildren will come to embrace honestly as well and that they will choose to abide by the truth in Proverbs 10:9 that “whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.”
Deception is sadly very common among today’s students, especially as they age. As the school’s disciplinarian, the most common misbehavior my husband addresses is cheating, another form of deceit. According to confidential surveys of our nation’s high school students, 74% admit to cheating on an examination at least once in the past year. And that percentage is merely those who admit to it.
Here’s a few other facts about academic cheating from the Educational Testing Service Website.
- Cheating no longer carries the stigma that it used to.
- Grades, rather than education, have become the major focus of many students.
- Students who cheat often feel justified in what they are doing. They cheat because they see others cheat and they think they will be unfairly disadvantaged.
- Cheating is seen by many students as a means to a profitable end.
A means to a profitable end.
Sadly this defines all too many aspects of today’s culture from politicians, who say whatever they want to garner votes, to bank executives who resort to deceptive means in order to maximize their own profits.
Ends justify the means. And it’s wrong. Completely.
- Getting out of trouble is not a reason to lie.
- Neither is getting what one wants a rationale for dishonesty.
- Cheating is wrong regardless of the reason.
Who can we trust? What can we stake our lives around?
Truth is God’s self-expression.
He is the author and determiner and judge of all truth. Jesus is the perfect expression of God and the absolute embodiment of all that is true. He made a profound claim about His own deity by saying in John 14:6 that “I am the way the truth and the life.” He referred to the coming of the Holy Spirit in John 16:3 as the Spirit of Truth who will guide you into all truth.
Deception is the devil’s self-expression.
He is called the Father of Lies because his motives are always about deceiving us. (He seems to have our culture in his grasp.) Our kids need to know that each time they lie, they grow more vulnerable to the deceptive schemes of the devil and each time they choose to lie or cheat, they are giving the devil a foothold.
Who will we follow? Who will we be?
In Ephesians 4:22-24 Paul says to “put off your old self…which is corrupt through deceitful desires and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”
I pray that our children and grandchildren will choose to be clothed in the righteousness of Christ and cast off any deceit that would discolor their character and distort their perception. I pray that they come to wholly embrace truth and honesty, that they will not practice deceit or utter lies but choose to be renewed in knowledge after the image of their Creator. (Colossians 3:9-10)
What else does the Bible say about lying and cheating?
Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool.
Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight.
Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment.
No one who practices deceit shall dwell in my house; no one who utters lies shall continue before my eyes.
Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.
For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light.