Lying, Deceit, and Teenagers

Practical and Biblical Tips for Parenting and Discipling Teens Through Lying

The teenager years are a challenging yet opportunistic times.  It is also a time when young men and women start to develop a certain craft and technique for telling “half-truths.”  The following are some practical ways for parents and mentors to shepherd teens through lying and deceit.

  • Practice trust-worthiness and honesty.  Do you tell the kids the truth?  Are you a trust-worthy example to those who you minister to? We are always teaching our children so it is important that we model trust-worthiness and honesty.
  • Pray with and for children about lying.  Point them toward God in Christ who is merciful.  Pray that if they lie they will get caught!  If they are caught lying pray with them through repentance.
  • Point them to the truth of Scripture.  Dennis Rainey states, “As we shape our children’s convictions about deceit we need to be careful to give them God’s perspective of lies, false appearances, and misrepresentations of the truth.”  God is clear on the matter in His Word:
    • No one who practices deceit shall dwell in my house; no one who utters lies shall continue before my eyes. (Psalm 101:7 ESV)
    • O LORD, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill? He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart; who does not slander with his tongue… (Psalm 15:1-3 ESV)
    • Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, but those who act faithfully are his delight.  (Proverbs 12:22 ESV)
    • We need to be careful of a judgmental attitude when presenting the truths of Scripture on this subject.   We should not give God’s perspective with a “high and mighty” attitude but must do so humbly, pleading with our children, showing them grace.  Take time to carefully think about this and what your tactics will be.
  • Help your teen understand that lying is a spiritual battle!  The Bible teaches that there are unseen forces at work in our hearts and minds – there is a real enemy who wants control of their hearts – sin and temptation are real and must be fought (Ephesians 6).  Teach them that they must do war against the temptation to show anything less than godly integrity.
  • Teach them that lying and deceit is idolatry.  Point them to the idolatry that manifests itself in lying and deceit.  Are they telling half-truths because of appearance, possessions, or acceptance?  Go after their heart!  Paul Tripp says this is the hardest work a human being could ever do – cultivate a heart of a child.

I hope this helps as you parent and as you minister to young men and women whom God has placed under your care.

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