David Lieberman has written a book entitled Never Be Lied To Again: How to Get the Truth in 5 Minutes or Less in Any Conversation or Situation. Jack Hayford’s mother, Delores, never read Lieberman’s book, and it never took her five minutes to get the truth out of her son who today is a leading evangelical leader and the author of the song, “Majesty.” And how did she get the truth so quickly? She would simply confront him with these words: “Tell me the truth, Jack, in the presence of Jesus!” Whoa!

But Delores Hayford, a godly woman who tremendously impacted the lives of her children, simply reminded them that Jesus Christ was present and He knew whether or not there were telling the truth or a lie. Why is getting the truth such a challenge any more? Living in a society, where kids grow up placing little or no importance on telling the truth, the conscientious parent who wants his kids to tell the truth has a challenge: How do you raise kids who tell the truth?

Government officials tell the public what they want to hear. Scientists falsify research. Workers fabricate data on their job applications to get jobs and advancement, and kids roll their eyes in their heads and tell parents enough to satisfy them or what they think they want to hear. And parents, themselves, are far less than squeaky-clean when it comes to telling each other the unvarnished, complete truth. The Oxford Dictionary’s Word of the Year 2016 was “post-truth,” an adjective defined as “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” We have, unfortunately, had a cultural “sea change,” as sailors used to say.

“Tell me the truth, Jack, in the presence of Jesus,” demanded Jack Hayford’s mother. Acknowledging the presence of Christ in a home, remembering that He said, “Lo, I am with you always,” introduces a spiritual framework, one that requires that we speak the truth in love and acknowledges that lies are an abomination before God.

It also is accompanied with a repudiation of the culture of lies and deceit which is prevalent today. If you are a parent who feels that you could benefit from a lie detector machine, better take inventory. First, ask yourself, “Have we declared our home to be a place of refuge where we leave the corruption of our culture behind us, an ark of safety where we speak the truth openly and freely with each other? You then need to ask if you as a parent speak the truth or shade it as you feel better serves your purpose. The dad who didn’t want to take a phone call and told his teenage daughter to say, “Dad, hasn’t gotten home from work yet,” is saying by his example: “If dishonesty better serves your purpose or makes it more convenient for you than telling the truth, go ahead and do it.”

At about four or five years of age, kids learn what is acceptable and what is not acceptable. When their little friends lie, it’s easy for them to try the same thing. That’s when a parent has to let them know we’re different; others do, we don’t!” And the message has to be lived out in such a way that your life speaks the truth.

“Tell the truth, Jack, in the presence of Jesus.” It’s never been difficult for Jack Hayford and neither will it be for your child when you lead the way and model the message. The battle for the minds and hearts of our children is going to continue indefinitely. You will have to teach your kids that God values, yes, demands truth and let them watch you…tell the truth.

Resource Reading: Psalm 139

Text: He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart…will never be shaken. Psalm 15:2, 6

GUIDELINES with Harold Sala – September 22, 2017