There are plenty of times when it seems that it would be better or easier to tell a “little white lie” than to speak the truth. When that thought enters our minds, it is a good idea to stop and ask ourselves whether we really want to go down the path of deception. We may realize that, while not telling the truth may seem better or easier at the moment, it will likely lead to bigger problems down the road.
Author Lynn Austin tells of how she and her five-year-old son had been looking forward to visiting the planetarium on a trip to a nearby city. When they arrived, however, she learned that children under six were not admitted. Realizing that her son would be quite disappointed, she came up with a plan. “Jeremy, let’s pretend you just had a birthday,” Lynn told him. “If the ticket man asks you how old you are, I want you to say, ‘I’m six years old.’”
Lynn made little Jeremy practice this line until he sounded very convincing. She then bought the tickets without any problems. When the show was over they headed for the air and space museum which was located in an adjacent building. There, they found a large sign which read, “Children five and under admitted free.” To avoid paying the $10 admission fee, Lynn convinced Jeremy to forget about his pretend birthday and to tell the ticket man that he was five.
After touring the museum, Lynn and Jeremy headed for their third and final destination of the day: the aquarium. Seeing a sign which listed only one price for children twelve and under, Lynn said nothing to her son. However, as they approached the ticket counter, Jeremy spoke out with a worried, but loud voice. “Wait a minute, Mom. How old am I this time?” At this point, Lynn says she realized what a great disservice she had done to her son by teaching him that not telling the truth can be a good option.
Friends, many years ago Sir Walter Scott observed, “Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.” Many of us have found that to be true from experience. We tell one lie, perhaps with rather innocent intentions, and then find ourselves telling another lie to hide the first, and a third lie to cover up the second. We would benefit as individuals, and as a community, if each of us would follow the instructions the Lord gives us through the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 4:25: “Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor.”
Husband and wife, tell your spouse the truth! Teenager, don’t try to deceive your parents! Employee, be honest with your boss! Christian, don’t lie, even when it is the easy thing to do! That is the only way to avoid the tangled web of deception.
Yours, asking God to give me the courage to always speak the truth,
Rev. Dan Erickson, Senior Pastor, Chisholm Baptist Church