By Greg Johnson
It’s Friday after school and you’ve spent a long week trying to keep up with your homework. You don’t have any over the weekend and all you want to do is relax. After you throw your backpack into your closet, Mom reminds you that you’ve put off practicing your saxophone all week.
“I know I promised to do it after school today,” you tell her, “but it’s been a long week. Can’t I just do it this weekend?”
“I knew you’d try to put it off again,” she says. “Yesterday you begged me to let you wait until today so you could watch your shows, promising that you’d get it done today after school.”
“But Mom, it’s Friday, and I have the whole weekend! Don’t you trust me enough to get it done over the next two days?’
“Trust has nothing to do with it. You promised me yesterday that you’d get it done after school today. Now, are you going to do what you said, or do we just take the sax back to the music shop?
“I’ve got to go to the store for about half an hour,” she continued. “I expect you the practice the whole time I’m gone. If you don’t, you can just forget about TV tonight.”
“Fine. I’ll practice.”
As Mom heads out the door, you pick up your sax and start to play. Your older brother is downstairs watching one of your favorite after-school shows. You play a few more notes, then lay your sax on your bed and sit on the stairs so you can see the TV. For the next twenty-five minutes, you watch the rest of the show. Just as the show ends you race back up to your room and start playing.
After Mom has finished putting away the groceries, she comes into your room. “How’s it going?” she asks.
“Have you been able to get through your lessons?”
“Yes, Mom. I’ve been through this lesson before.” (A true statement since you have practiced this piece a number of times.)
“Well, do you feel like you know it?”
“I’m getting there, Mom,” you say. (Again, another true statement.)
“I appreciate you practicing while I was gone.”
“Sure. No Problem.” (She didn’t say, “I appreciate you practicing the whole time I was gone.”)
Questions to Think On
• Since it’s fairly clear that you didn’t, technically, lie to mom, do you have anything to feel guilty for?
• Leaving out parts of the truth is a well-known way to get out of taking responsibility for something wrong that you’ve done. How do you feel about doing this if you don’t get caught?
• If you know that you may get punished for not following through or for telling only a partial truth, what are you more likely to do: take the punishment, or try to get away with something?
What Does God Have to Say?
Buy the truth and do not sell it. Proverbs 23:23
He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart and has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbor no wrong and casts no slur on his fellow man, who despises a vile man but honors those who fear the Lord, who keeps his oath even when it hurts, who lends his money without usury and does not accept a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things will never be shaken. Psalm 15:2-5