I’ve been asked why I use the word “untruth” instead of “lie”. I realize that lying is a very real thing and it’s a sin. I have to be careful when discussing this issue because every so often someone will hear what I say on this and think that I’m minimizing what God makes very clear in Scripture. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
Godly parents are concerned about the presence of anything appearing to be sin in the life of their child. Whether we blame a flaw in our child or a lacking in our parenting once we identify this sin we set about to figure out where the root is and pull it out. What many don’t realize is that a two year old saying they didn’t eat the cookie when you find them with chocolate in the corner of their mouth is not a child lying. If you believe that it is then you may spend several years fearing that your child has lying lips that are hated by God and that you are failing in your job as a parent. While living with that fear you will miss out on a lot of fun you could have with your child.
Lie is such a heavy word. It implies the intent to deceive and it’s assigning a very negative intent to a young child. My children learn about lies, but long after they begin to separate truth from untruth. I teach my very young children, “God’s Word is always truth, mommy always tells you the truth, and truth means it really is that way.” To contrast that I teach them, “Untruth means you say something and it’s not really that way for real.”
Ultimately there are two aspects to the problem of sin. The first is the actual problem of sin and what is does regarding separating us from God. Thankfully Jesus took care of this problem on the cross and I am grateful I do not have the ability to responsibility to add anything else to what He has already accomplished. For this part of the issue I point my children to God, introduce them to Jesus, and teach them about what it means to have relationship with Him.
The second is the issue of how actual sins affect our relationships with other people in our community. This is where teaching my children what God expects from us in our choices and how we live becomes vital. This is the aspect of sin that God leaves to us as parents (even though He also provided the Holy Spirit to convict our children as they mature and to continue the education in these areas long after we are no longer the primary teacher). This is why I focus on how to live, how to not live, what God says those who love Him will do, and not on sin. If my job is to fly my children straight to the target (Him) then I find it more effective to focus on how to fly straight rather than spending undue time focusing on all the wrong turns and paths that don’t fly them straight. If they know where not to fly but never are taught how to fly then I have failed in this part of my responsibility. I find focusing on God’s Truth, and how TO fly straight to Him, is far more effective at setting them up to fly straight. Life gives us plenty of times once they start taking responsibility for flying on their own to deal with what happens when they don’t fly straight. When they are very young, I emphasize the right path, always point to the Truth, tell them what God says His Children will do, and keep us looking to Him.