This morning my daughter told her first lie to me. Her first blatant lie. Little kids lie when they really don’t understand the impact of their words. But, when they understand, and they still choose to lie, it can be heartbreaking.
I walked into the kitchen mid-morning and my daughter looked at me with that wide-eyed look. I registered surprise. I should have known better. She walked down the hallway and I noticed she was holding her arms around her waist as if she were holding up her pants. But, she had a belt on.
I was wisening up. “What is under your shirt?”
I reached in to find a gluten-free rice cake. She was sneaking into the food purchased specifically for her gluten intolerant brother.
She lied? Over a rice cake?
I was so sad. The guilt was burdening her heart and her little face.
I quietly and gently rebuked her, reminding her that lying is not pleasing to the Lord or to Mommy. She apologized and went to her room to play.
I went to my room to cry.
As a young mom, I would be angry they lied to me. As an older and more experienced mother, I am finally wise enough to understand that she lied to the Lord. I see completely the broken fellowship and the spiritual jeopardy her sin has created. That is why we teach our children to confess their sin to the Lord and to the person they affected.
We teach them to ask for forgiveness and that once granted, the matter is closed, forgiven and forgotten. It brings release and peace to all involved. It helps relieve the burden of a guillty conscience kids carry with them.
They express their guilty conscience by trying to cover their sins. They try to cover their sin with lying or with blame. But deep inside, they feel that same burden we adults feel when we do something wrong. We just need to teach them how to resolve that burden of guilt.
I have also learned to have the kids confess to their father, instead of me telling him. It will help them learn that he is approachable, understanding, gentle, kind, and can be trusted with all their problems. Usually I begin with a positive note, commending that child for the way they resolved the situation or the lesson they learned. I want them to learn to approach their Heavenly Father with the same kind of confidence in His forgiving love.
On the way home from the grocery store, I had our daughter admit her situation to her father. He listened carefully, and praised her for admitting she was wrong. He then asked what she learned.
“I learned it feels better to tell the truth.” She talked a little more and finished up, “But the best part is, there is always a new day with nothing wrong in it.”
I think we’re both older and wiser.