A son who learns well from his parents is always a source of joy and pride to them. I have no doubt that Abraham and Sarah would have gone into their graves with a sense of fulfillment knowing that they had raised their son in the fear and knowledge of the Lord.
However, when our children learn the negative things we do and actually manifest those things before us, how do we feel? I have seen many frustrated and disappointed parents who saw their weaknesses being portrayed before them by their children. In their frustration, they discipline these children severely, with the hope that they could uproot the seed of those behaviours from their hearts. They thought the children had been insulated and protected from their weaknesses but alas, it becomes plain to them that the children have some way acquired those same traits.
While Abraham was travelling from Ur to Canaan as led by God, he had to divert to Egypt when there was famine in the land. As they entered Egypt, Abraham noticed that the Egyptians were admiring Sarah’s beauty. He became afraid. He knew sooner or later, enquiries would be made about her and he was afraid that the Egyptians might kill him in a bid to have Sarah. His solution was to ask Sarah to lie about his identity as her husband. This they did but God would have none of that. The truth was exposed and God ensured that Abraham and his wife were not harmed. (Gen 12:10 – 20)
Many years later, another famine comes. This time Abraham is long gone and Isaac has to find a way to get food for him and his wife. He went to Abimelech king of the Philistines who welcomed him and gave him a place to stay. The same scenario played itself out. The men of the land began to admire Rebekah Isaac’s wife. He got scared and pleaded with her to lie that she was his sister so that the Philistines would not kill him in a bid to take his wife. The lie only held for a while until one day, the King of the Philistines was looking out of his window and saw then playing romantically. He knew then that they were husband and wife. God stepped in as usual and did not allow them to be harmed (Gen 26:6-11)
This account brings us to the question, ‘Why do people lie?’ One of the definitions I got is as follows ,
‘A lie is an untruth, a deviation, big or small from what is known to be real. It is a false statement deliberately presented as being true, thus misrepresenting a situation or giving a totally wrong impression about something’
Most people lie and we all have lied at one point or the other. You hear lies everywhere, in church, schools, government, work, just about everywhere. While some lie once in a while out of what they deem necessary, there are others who are referred to as pathological liars. They lie about everything. One successful lie told gingers them to lie more.
Why do people lie? Husbands lie to their wives when they are cheating on them, politicians lie when confronted with questions about their conduct, children lie for fear of being punished by parents or teachers. Others lie to gain undue advantage or prestige.
Today, it is saddening to see politicians lying about something and then when confronted with undeniable fact, do an about-turn and apologize for what they did and for lying.
I think based on the lesson we are learning from our Patriarchs Abraham and Isaac, people, even godly people, lie for self-protection or self-preservation. Lying is about ‘self’ and nothing else. Lying is selfish. It is a weapon of deceit aimed at others for purposes that run contrary to God’s will. It gets worse when people lie to cover previous lies told until it gets to a point where they begin to believe the lies.
Why must we stop lying? The answer is simple. Lying is destructive. Imagine for one moment that God did not intervene in Abraham and Isaac’s case, what would have happened? In fact in Abraham’s case, Abimelech’s household had began suffering the effect of Abraham’s lies. The act of bringing Sarah into the palace, caused a curse to come from God which shut the womb of all the women in the King’s house. When Abimilech pleaded his case with God, claiming that he had not touched Sarah, God told him that the only reason he had not touched Sarah was because He had retrained Abimilech from doing so.
Another reason to put away lies? Because God hates lies (Prov 6:17) It was one of the reasons God destroyed Nineveh (Nahum 3:1)
How do you feel when your children lie to you? I feel hurt and I get upset and I ensure that they get punished extra for lying. I encourage them to speak the truth by letting them off with a light rebuke or even sometimes praising them for the courage to speak the truth at the risk of being punished. This is the lesson we must teach our children.
Lies are transient and fade away quickly. It flees when superior fact is presented, leaving its victim vulnerable. The truth is rugged and stubborn. It is relentless and eventually triumphs amid a host of lies.
The only way to fight lies is by walking in the truth always.