So, do you like watching the Andy Griffith Show? You know, the wholesome show with the down home humor and quaint town. Barney, the inept deputy is constantly getting himself into trouble and Andy, the Sheriff provides his country wisdom to work out the problems of the day. Each episode has an overriding lesson for the viewers. What’s not to like? Over all, I think the show has some redeeming qualities but as I have watched them from time to time, there is a reoccurring problem in the foundational structure of the show that I think we need to be very careful about and particularly discerning if we allow our children to watch the show. In many episodes I have found that subtle lies are often told and accepted. To me, this is very troubling, particularly as this show is often extoled for its values.
As we come to the next section of our study in Ephesians (4:25-32), I want to make a quick stop at verse 25.
Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.
Lies vs. Truth – How often in our daily lives do we hear the comment about “little white lies?” Isn’t that we see often in shows such as the “wholesome”, “family values” show of Andy Griffith? As seen on TV, it is unfortunately far too often so easy to bring this idea into our own homes and we don’t even realize it.
I will not elaborate on this topic, but another example that comes to mind is the topic of Santa Clause and his friends. From the very beginning of our parenting experience, we never told our children that there was a Tooth Fairy or Easter Bunny or Santa Clause for them to believe in. We would describe Santa as a Christmas Clown or someone dressed up in a costume for fun during the Christmas season. I’m not here to judge anyone on what you do or say about such topics but I would ask that you consider the foundations that you are laying for the future of your children’s character.
As our children get older and they are able to understand truth, should we be said to have provided them with an example of “ok lies”? God forbid. As parents we do enough unintentional lying without deliberately lying to our children. If we are willing to make it acceptable within our families to tell “little white lies”, to be deceptive to the ones that we love the most, how much bigger will that deception carry over into our other relationships such as our extended family, our church family, our neighbors, and our co-workers and bosses? The crooked CEO’s and politicians didn’t wake up one morning and determine to be deceptive to those to whom they are accountable to, their deception began in the home.
As we rear arrows (our children) to be shot into a dark world, are we honing them into straight arrows or crooked arrows?
In the proceeding verses in this chapter, Paul speaks in generalities about living a godly life, in verses 25-31 Paul gets into some specific interpersonal sins that we need to be cautious about in our relationship with others. With each sin that he warns us about, he tells us what to replace it with. Don’t do this, but do this. In verse 25, he tells us to put away lying but speak truth.
How are we doing as parents? Are we keenly aware of the world around us and the deception and lies that it bombards our households with? Are we instructing our children in truth and pointing out the lies of this sinful world and our own sinful nature?
Character is like a seed planted in a young heart. How we feed and water it or neglect it may not be evident today, but as the fruit grows within their heart, so will the sweet or bitter flavors be known.
Those who think it’s permissible to tell white lies soon become color-blind.