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Christian Parenting Advice: Teaching Honesty

Here's a practical morsel of Christian parenting advice: Teach your kids honesty.

I came across a humorous story illustrating the importance of this:

A melon farmer’s crop of melons was disappearing fast from his field. Thieves were continually stealing the melons under the cover of night’s darkness. The farmer finally became desperate and in an attempt to save his crop from the vandals — which he suspected were kids — he decided to put up a sign.

The sign had on it a skull and crossbones, and it read: “ONE OF THESE MELONS IS POISONED.” Only the farmer knew that it was not true.

Sure enough, for two nights not a single melon was missing. But, after the third night, the farmer noticed that his sign had been altered. Someone had scratched out the word “ONE” and replaced it with another word so that the sign now read: “TWO OF THESE MELONS ARE POISONED.”

Attempting to save his whole crop through a small deception, the farmer lost it all, which just goes to illustrate Sir Walter Scott’s observation:

“Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!”

Truth or Consequences

A Principle to Remember: God always wants us to tell the truth and not be deceptive in any way.

Biblical Basis:

• “A truthful witness gives honest testimony, but a false witness tells lies” (Proverbs 12:17).

• “There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers” (Proverbs 6:16-19).

There is a great story in Scripture that illustrates the importance of honesty. Zacchaeus was a tax collector and was very wealthy. According to Roman law, tax collectors had to collect a certain amount of money from each person and give it to the Roman government. Often, though, they would charge a little extra and put that extra money put in their own pockets.

Zacchaeus became a follower of Christ. And in showing his sincerity, he said to Jesus, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount” (Luke 19:8). In becoming a Christian, Zacchaeus learned the importance of honesty!

It’s good to learn honesty as an adult. But it’s much better to learn it as a child.

~ Shortcut to Understanding ~

Feel free to share this story with your child:

When Kerri was in 2nd grade, she was a member of the Campfire Girls organization, in a group called the Bluebirds. Her Bluebird troop was having a meeting one evening to celebrate the birthday of one of the girls.

The girls were chatting and the conversation came on to the subject of allergies. Many of the girls were naming particular things to which they were allergic. Kerri, not wanting to be the only one without allergies and wanting to fit in, announced that she was allergic to chocolate. (This was a total lie!)

That statement caught the ear of the troop leader mother in the next room, who was slicing (you guessed it) chocolate birthday cake. This was actually Kerri’s favorite. Kerri — to cover her lie — had to make do with a few stale sugar cookies while the other girls enjoyed delicious chocolate cake.

Kerri learned a painful lesson that day. She learned the importance of being honest.

Let’s be sure to teach our kids honesty! They’ll be happier for it.

— Dr. Ron Rhodes

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