Parent Devotion: The Truth About Lies
It’s so easy to believe lies.
My 20-year-old daughter has been going through a rough time in college lately. She’s smart, she’s strong, and, as a scientist, she prides herself on filtering out the falsehoods to find the facts. She has the ability to see through even the faintest hint of insincerity. The batteries in her lie detector never run out.
Except, lately, for the fiction she’s been telling herself. You’re not good enough. No one likes you. You’re not worth it. Everyone’s trying to hurt you. You’ll never amount to anything. Just give up because nothing matters anyway.
Getting a phone call from your sobbing daughter is one of the last things any parent wants. Talking her down off the ledge, even a proverbial one, is something we never hope to have to do. No matter what our kids are going through, they almost invariably are battling with lies. And the only way to fight those dirty deceptions is with a potent armory of the truth.
Lies come from everywhere, they can be about anything, and they deceive everyone at some point or another. Even—perhaps especially—us. We grown-ups who’ve seen it all and should know better can be just as susceptible to deception as our own children. The news and social networks and advertising are bad enough at bombarding us with fiction. But often the most damaging lies are the ones we tell ourselves.
What we need is more truth.
Like our kids, we need to saturate ourselves in God’s truth. And we need to remember that it’s like water: You don’t just take one drink and expect to be quenched for the rest of your life. You need a regular flow of the truth into your heart and mind hour after hour, day after day, year after year.
The only way to help my daughter was to speak the truth to her. You’re one of the smartest people I know. People tell me all the time how much they adore you. If anyone is worth it, you are. The people who love you want the best for you; it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. You’ve already accomplished so much, and you’ve got such a bright future. The hard stuff will pass, and you’ll be stronger once you’re through it.
The big trouble with the lies we tell ourselves is that we begin to actively search for proof that those lies are true. Take my daughter for example. She’s a very bright person, as demonstrated by evidence such as her success in school, high ACT score, and acceptance into a prestigious engineering program. But college has proven to be a challenge for her. She failed a test during her freshman year (not uncommon at her school), and began to question her intellectual abilities. She started seeing false evidence in lots of little things, like not laughing at a joke that everyone else thought was funny, or losing her keys, or meeting another person who was a whiz at the one class she was struggling with (calculus). Suddenly she began believing the lies that she was not smart, not worthy, and not even the person she thought she was.
How many of us mature, well-adjusted grown-up parents do the same thing? We fall for lies about what might make us happy, or about a lack of purpose for our lives, or even the value we bring to our friends and family. Our minds can get stuck in a rut of untruth, rejecting God’s reality for destructive fantasies.
I think it helps to remember that reality doesn’t have ulterior motives. It doesn’t double-cross anyone. The truth—God’s indelible, eternal truth—tells us that we are loved, we have worth, and we have a purpose.
For the sake of our children, it’s critical that we embrace the truth—God’s truth—as often as we can. We know the truth will set us free, so let’s do everything we can to immerse our daily routines in letting the truth flow into in hearts and minds.
Digging Deeper: Reflection and Challenge
Journal prompt: What’s one lie you’ve told yourself about your life? Write two lists: one identifying the false evidences that feed that lie, and one proclaiming the actual truth. If you can, write down a Scripture or two that can back up the truth.
Challenge: Think about a friend who may be struggling in his or her life right now. What lies do you think your friend may be falling for? How can you speak some truth you’re your friend’s life in a way that’s caring and respectful?
After spending a few moments reflecting on your former self, what kind of advice would you give your younger you? Would it have helped to hear those words? Why or why not?
Read and reflect on 2 Timothy 2:15. How are you handling “the word of truth” in your life these days?
Your college-aged child can always use more truth in his or her life. Find a way to tell your son or daughter something today that will assure them of God’s love in their life. Do it today.
About The Author
Written by Jeff White, author of the new best-selling Friends With God Story Bible and the upcoming devotional book, Being a Friend of God: Discovering How God Views You. He’s been married to Amy, a high school English teacher, for almost 28 years. They’re the parents of two college-aged kids, as well as a mostly truth-telling 9-year-old.