Lying and God’s Desire for Repentance, Not Perfection

a grown up and two children walking away from the camera along the beach with water rippling around rocks to their leftOne of our children lied to me the other day. It wasn’t a big lie. It was the type of lie I’ve told before—where I was caught off guard by a question and felt a little self-conscious to answer and so I said what I wished were true instead of the actual truth.

I talked to that child later, and they admitted to the lie. I asked whether they had thought about it at all later. They said yes, they felt bad, and they thought about telling me, but to bring it up with me seemed unnecessary. It really wasn’t that big a deal, was it?

So we talked about how telling me about it was the best way to have it not happen again. I told them I didn’t really care about the initial lie. I’ve been there and done that. What I care about is not coming back to me after telling the lie. What I care about is that once they had time to really reflect on it, they kept the lie in place.

Repentance, Not Perfection

It made me think about the many places in the Bible where the writers tell us God doesn’t care about our moral perfection. God cares about “a contrite heart.” A heart that can—after doing something wrong—turn around and say, “I’m sorry.” 

I have often wondered whether Adam and Eve could have stayed in Eden if they had only said, “We screwed up. We are so sorry.” 

I’m not hoping for perfection from our kids, or from myself. I am hoping for honesty. I am hoping for humility. I am hoping for forgiveness. I’m hoping that even when we lie and hurt one another and make selfish choices we can find a path forward through a way of love.


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