When I was a little girl, I knew where my Maw Maw kept her Sunday School funds. She was the “treasurer” for her Sunday School class, and a small white faux leather pouch sat in the second drawer down in her dresser. Sometimes she’d let me help her count the funds, and ever so often she’d “borrow” from it when she needed cash and immediately replace it.
We ate with my grandparents almost every Sunday after church, and one particular Sunday she wanted to give me and my brother a dollar before we left. She said, “Macie, you know were the Sunday School money is. Get a dollar and I’ll replace it later.” I opened the drawer and got the pouch. I placed my hand on a dollar bill and right behind it was a ten. I took the dollar and the ten and thanked my grandmother.
On the ride home my daddy said, “Where did you get that ten dollar bill?” I told him Maw Maw had given it to me. He was pretty shocked, ten dollars was a large sum to be given for no reason. When we got home he called Maw Maw and found out she did NOT authorize the removal of a ten, but a one. I was caught red handed.
My daddy put me back into the car and we rode back to Maw Maw’s to return the stolen money. I was mortified that I’d been caught and extremely embarrassed. I was ashamed I had lied, especially to my beloved Maw Maw.
I wish I could say it was the last time I’d lie to my parents, or other people, but it wasn’t. I would in fact proceed to lie about a lot of things in my life. This moment did, however, make an impression on my heart that would take root and last a long time: when faced with telling the truth or a lie, choose truth. No matter the embarrassment or consequence. Choose. Truth.
This story makes me ponder why people lie. We can list many immoral and selfish reasons, but I want to talk about a reason that’s often missed. Sometimes people lie because they are frightened by the wrath that will ensue when their lie is discovered. They have never seen grace displayed, and because of this they are willing to do anything to avoid “punishment.” If a child is shown nothing but wrath and legalistic parenting they will indeed sin more to avoid the pain and shame of disappointing their parents.
In our home we have a saying: “Tell the truth the first time.” We have explained to our children time and time again that the truth is always the best choice even if it means hard consequences. We have also promised them that immediate forgiveness and grace will be given, and quite possibly consequences will be less for “telling the truth the first time.”
Even though most of us have outgrown childish lying, we are still daily faced with the choice between the truth and a lie. Whether it’s to avoid something or gain something, the temptation and choice remains. What will you choose?
I made up a song when I was working as a preschool assistant. The lesson was lying versus the truth, and the little ditty stuck and we sang it all year. It went like this, “The truth is better than a lie. Oh the truth is better than a lie. A lie gets in your heart and makes you saaaaaaaad. But a truth gets in your heart and sets you FREE!!!”
It is for FREEDOM Christ has set you and me free.
Be blessed. Be free.