The Truth, The Whole Truth, and Nothing But The Truth

Liar, liar, pants on fire. The sing-song words are familiar to most everyone, regardless of age.

No one wants to be known as a liar. And of course, no one wants their child to be a liar. But children do lie. It comes naturally at a young age. They lie to avoid consequences or to make themselves look better. They learn from friends that if you cross your fingers behind your back, it’s okay to not tell the truth.

And it’s possible your child is learning to lie from…you.

That can’t be, can it? We would never teach our children to be untruthful, would we?

Unfortunately, we do exactly that—more often than we’d like to admit.

Think of the last time your friend asked if you liked her haircut. “Oh, yes,” you said. Only to later tell someone else it was hideous.

Or the time your mother-in-law called, and you told your husband to say you weren’t home.

Or when you wanted to take a three-day weekend and called in sick to work.

And little eyes were watching and little ears were listening…while we called it a fib. An exaggeration. A bluff. A misstatement.

Anything but what it really is. A lie.

But the Bible tells us God is a God of truth (Psalm 31:5). Truth is what He desires for us in our innermost being (Psalm 51:6). And of course, Jesus is truth (John 14:6).

So how do we begin to teach our children to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? We start with ourselves. We tell the truth whether little ears are listening or not. Whether it’s convenient or not. This doesn’t mean we beat up people with the truth. The apostle Paul reminds us we should be “speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15).

Then we teach our children to tell the truth and hold them accountable for telling lies. Let them know the consequence for telling a lie compounds the consequence for the wrong-doing. Help them see that truth-telling doesn’t just please us, it pleases the Lord (Proverbs 12:22).

Let’s say a final goodbye to the words, liar, liar, pants on fire.

What do you think?

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About Ava Pennington

Ava Pennington is thoroughly enjoying her second career as an author, teacher, and speaker. She moved from New York to Florida, leaving a twenty-year corporate career as a Human Resources executive. But don’t call her retired! She now teaches a weekly, interdenominational Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) class of 300+ women from September through May. Of course, Ava writes. She has written for organizations such as Focus on the Family, Christianity Today, and Haven Ministries. She has also been published in 25 anthologies, including nineteen Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Her newest book, Daily Reflections on the Names of God: A Devotional, is published by Revell Books and endorsed by Kay Arthur, founder of Precepts International. Ava has also co-authored two children’s picture books, Do You Love Me More? and Will I See You Today? If you’re looking for a speaker, she delights in challenging audiences with relevant, enjoyable presentations. For more information, please visit


The Truth, The Whole Truth, and Nothing But The Truth — 2 Comments

  1. I agree with you, Ava. Leading by example is so important. I read a book recently. It was about modern day politics. One of the things the author mentioned is how our behavior impacts our kids. How did that come up? Well, he was experimenting in the world of Twitter and when it comes to politics, passions run high. Some comments were downright rude. Some political pundits are downright rude. See that behavior every day and that’s what you learn.

    Thanks for the great post.

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