"But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison."
"An honest witness does not deceive, but a false witness pours out lies."
My 4 year old likes to pretend. He likes to hide, in order to surprise his daddy or me, and then ask if we will say, "James went to the store". This innocent game of sweet surprise just didn't seem honest to me. I told him I wouldn't tell daddy something that wasn't true. That would also apply to "I don't know where James went" but, maybe not to "I don't see James, where is he?" when the boy is under the covers.
I don't want to teach my sons that 'white lies' are fine. It may seem harmless, but to me it makes a difference.
We were sitting at the kitchen table, and my son was told a lie by his brother. He was in tears; the truth must come to light! There must be justice! (another future post?) His brother tells a lie when he is afraid to be punished. The motivation is absolutely not innocent in this example, even though the fear was irrational. I told him he wouldn't be punished for the 'spitting' incident, but he was still not willing to own up to his mistake. Some gentle coaching helped him tell the truth. "you didn't spit?" "no" "can you tell me what you did to make that noise?" "it was my tongue" "did you have spit come out of your mouth?" "Yes."
One more: My boys also like to play pretend about lots of things. I tried to teach them how to 'not cry wolf' in their play time. Saying, "I have huge blue wings! watch me fly!" is easy to know it is pretend. I can look at you and tell that you're just playing. Saying, "Calvin pooped his pants!" is something that does happen. Saying this as a 'funny joke' isn't funny, it would be a lie. ((telling mommy they suspect a poopy diaper is not considered bad behavior! just an easy example for me)) Funny jokes must be something we can all recognize is a joke. Lies come in all shapes & sizes, and being cautious about our truth telling is something I value.
The truth is important. God says in his word that the truth matters. Sometimes I can be over zealous about truth, but when I see others lie or tell the half-truth it stirs something in me that I cannot let go of. Then, I get to ask the Lord. Is this something that I need to correct? Or do I leave this one to you Lord? Can I practice forgiveness for those in my life who do not value honestly & truthfulness the way I do? Yes I can. without any resolution or 'justice'. It troubles me over&over&over. But I'm learning that one thing I can do is teach my sons about the value of honesty & giving an honest account.
Lord help me practice truth. Give my wisdom to teach my sons how to be honest. Help me forgive those who propagate falsehoods - false teachings & false accounts. Lord hold me accountable for my own falsehoods, & teach me how to keep my tongue from spreading wildfires. Lord continue to tame my tongue, for I am guilty as well. Amen.