Sermon Illustrations

LYING

Penn State researcher Dr. Nancy Darling reports 98% of teens reported lying to their parents in a recent study. They lied about what they spent their allowances on, whether they’d started dating, what clothes they put on away from the house, what movie they went to, and whom they went with. They lied about alcohol and drug use, about whether they were hanging out with friends their parents disapproved of, about how they spent their afternoons while their parents were at work, about whether chaperones were in attendance at a party or whether they rode in cars driven by drunken teens. Yet 98% of teens say trust and honesty are essential in a personal relationship. Depending on their ages, 96 to 98% say lying is morally wrong.

What’s happening? A child who is going to lie must recognize the truth, intellectually conceive of an alternate reality, and be able to convincingly sell that new reality to someone else. So, if your four-year-old is a good liar, it’s a strong sign she’s got brains. And it’s the smart, savvy kid who’s most at risk of becoming a habitual liar.

The most disturbing reason children lie is that parents teach them to. When adults are asked to keep diaries of their own lies, they admit to about one lie per every social interaction, which works out to one per day on average. Encouraged to tell so many white lies and hearing so many others, children gradually get comfortable with being disingenuous.

(Source: New York Magazine, 2/10/08)

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