When George Washington was in his youth his mother had a colt that she was very fond of, so much so that she let it run loose in the field. This horse was noted to be fierce and no one attempted to get on his back. The story goes that George and his friends were watching the colt one day when George told them that if they would help him put a bit in the colt’s mouth he would mount it. The boys succeeded, George got on his back and this strong animal rushed into the field, rearing and plunging trying to throw him off, but unfortunately strained too hard, fell to the ground and died.
When the boys went to face Mrs. Washington, she asked the whereabouts of her colt, “The one I am most proud of.” The boys hung their heads and remained quiet, yet George spoke up and told her the horse was dead and exactly how this tragedy happened. The account states:
“A flush rose to the mother’s cheek and then she said to her boy: ‘It is well; but while I grieve at the loss of my fine colt, I feel a pride and joy in my son who speaks the truth at all times.'”
There are other notable examples of the young George as one who spoke the truth and his parents were grateful when he did so, and encouraged him in that practice. As we know, this principle stuck with him through his adulthood as well. A simple yet neglected biblical principle: Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).
Do we take lying seriously in our child-rearing? Do our kids get by telling white lies here or there? Have we explained to them the seriousness of lying? How serious is it to God?
Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord,but those who act faithfully are his delight (Prov. 12:22).
A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who breathes out lies will perish (Prov. 19:9).
No one who practices deceit shall dwell in my house; no one who utters lies shall continue before my eyes (Psalm 101:7).
But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8).
These are frightening words! In a list of seven things that are an abomination to the Lord, lying is listed TWICE (Proverbs 6:16-19).
Also we should recall that lying is forbidden in the ninth commandment (Exodus 20:16, Deut 5:20, Lev. 19:11, Matthew 19:18). The Shorter Catechism notes:
Q. 77. What is required in the ninth commandment?
A. The ninth commandment requireth the maintaining and promoting of truth between man and man, and of our own and our neighbor’s good name, especially in witness-bearing.
Q. 78. What is forbidden in the ninth commandment?
A. The ninth commandment forbiddeth whatsoever is prejudicial to truth, or injurious to our own or our neighbor’s good name.
Lying must not be an option in the Christian household. We must let our children know that it is not accepted by God or by the parents he has graciously given them. And while there needs to be discipline in breaking this standard, there also must be encouragement when it is upheld. When they have done wrong and speak the truth, the joy it brings must be reciprocated back to them.
Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment (Proverbs 12:19)
As we have kids and press on with a multi-generational vision, the importance of truth will obviously have an impact on our culture. Lying destroys marriages, relationships, families, etc., and has become the norm in the industrial, economical, educational, and political fields with its consequences evident. Let us teach our children to speak truth and put aside falsehood, and let us parents pray for diligence in seeing this through and for its fruit to bring glory to our Father in heaven.