Don't Lie To Your Child--by Kimberly B. Southall
All scripture references are linked to The Bible Gateway. When you click on a scripture reference, it may take a few moments for it to load. Once you are finished reading the scripture reference, click "back" on your browser to return to this article.
Are you lying to your child? "Of course not!" you probably are saying to yourself. But stop a minute a think. Are you sure that you aren't lying to your child on a regular basis . . . perhaps on an annual basis or even more often? What am I talking about? I'm talking about the myths of "the Easter bunny," "Santa Claus," and "the Tooth Fairy."

"Oh, for goodness' sake," you might be thinking, "that is ridiculous--that is just for fun--those aren't really lies." But folks, if you are telling your child that the Easter bunny, Santa Claus, or the Tooth Fairy are real or that they exist, then you are lying to your child. You know it isn't true and yet you are telling your child that it is. That is a lie. And it is very serious business. I can list two vital reasons why you must not lie to your child about these matters, or if you already have then why you should confess now and tell him the truth.

The first reason is that God's Word specifically forbids us from lying. Read it for yourself in the Bible at Leviticus 19:11, Psalm 34:12-13, and Colossians 3:9-10. In fact, not only does God's Word forbid us from lying, but in Proverbs 6:16-19, it instructs us that the Lord hates a lying tongue. And from Revelation 21:8, we can see that He hates lies so much, that the liar's final destination will be the fiery lake of burning sulfur--hell. Also, Proverbs 26:28 tells us that a lying tongue hates those it hurts. So, as you can see, even such an "innocent" lie as telling your child that the Easter bunny, Santa Claus, or the Tooth Fairy is real is something you must avoid for your sake. But it isn't just your sake that you should be concerned with, either.

The second reason to avoid telling these lies to your child is because it could do irreparable damage to your child's ability to believe in God. Yes, I'm serious about this. Think about it.

I don't remember exactly how old I was, but I still remember the moment when I realized that it just wasn't logical for some rabbit to drag in a basket that large . . . and besides, just how would he have gotten in the door in the first place? So, I swallowed that huge lump in my throat, and with all the nerve I could muster (for I was afraid of what I might learn), I asked my mother if there really was an Easter bunny. When faced with this question, my mother did the right thing and admitted that there really wasn't. "Okay," I thought to my young self, "I can live with that." But then the notion dawned on me that maybe Santa Claus didn't exist, either. So I asked about him, too. Indeed, my mother confirmed my suspicions that he wasn't real, either. Now gaining more nerve, I questioned, "Is that all, or is there anything else that isn't real?" Before my mother could reply, another thought occurred to me. "Oh, I suppose even the Tooth Fairy isn't real, either?" My waning hopes were crushed when she admitted that the Tooth Fairy was also make-believe. Then moments later I asked my final, horrible question, "Is God make-believe, too?" Fortunately, my mother reassured me that God is, indeed, very real. And through His grace, I still believed. Strangely enough, though, many years later, I found myself beginning to teach those same falsehoods about Santa Claus and the Easter bunny to my child. I guess the passing of time had helped to dim the betrayal I had felt upon the discovery that day long ago that I had been lied to about them. But one day, when my child was two years old, the meaning of the scriptures about lying and also about training our children in the instruction of the Lord sunk in for me. (See Deuteronomy 11:13-21 and Ephesians 6:4.) These were scriptures about serious matters. And I was guilty. Then I remembered how I'd felt when I discovered the truth. What would have become of me if I hadn't still been able to believe in God as a result of the lies about Santa Claus, the Easter bunny, and the Tooth Fairy? What then? What if my child wouldn't then believe in God or Jesus Christ just because I had lied to him about them? That thought was just too horrible to bear, and I came clean with my child as the appropriate holidays approached.

So parents, this important issue is now in your hands. Please do the right thing. Don't lie to your child.

Copyright © 2000 Kimberly B. Southall. All rights reserved.