“Just Tell Them That I’m Not Home” (Lies, Lies and More Lies)

I once called someone’s home and one of the children answered. I asked to speak to her mother. I could hear the mother in the background telling this child

“Tell him that I’m not home.

The child followed her mother’s instructions.

I wonder what happens to the character of a child when parents teach this child to lie as a matter of convenience?

Consider the following everyday lies:

1. A father tells his 12 year old to tell the ticket seller at the gate that he is 11 years old. “The tickets for kids under 12 are so much cheaper.”

2. A mother calls her office telling them that she is sick and won’t be coming in. In reality, this woman and her family are going to Florida on vacation and want to get an early start.

3. An employee tells his boss that the project is about 75% toward completion. The truth is that he hasn’t even begun to work on this project.

4. A wife instructs her husband to tell his mother that they are going to be out of town on a particular date. The truth is that they are not going anywhere. She doesn’t want her in-laws to visit on that date and so she lies.

5. A minister tells a story in a sermon in the first person, as if it happened to him. The truth is that this story actually happened to a friend.

6. A repair person takes a phone call from a possible customer. He tells her, “I will be by tomorrow afternoon about 3 o’clock.” The truth is that he knows he will not be by then. In fact, he knows that he will not come at all tomorrow. He tells her this so that he can get her business.

7. A husband tells his wife that he will be coming home late from work. He says that he has a conference call with a client. The truth is that he is meeting with a female co-worker after work and doesn’t want his wife to know.

I once overheard a conversation in which a woman was telling her friend about how difficult it had been to sell their house. Her husband had told the truth about some needed repairs in the house and the prospective buyer decided not to purchase it. This woman was very frustrated with husband and began to criticize him. “He is so ethical! He doesn’t think it right for people to buy something like this unaware of its problems.”

When I heard this, I remember thinking “I can’t believe you are criticizing this man for being ethical. When he is traveling out of town on business, you ought to be grateful that you are married to an ethical man.”

Unfortunately, in far too many marriages, wives and husbands have learned that they can not trust the word of their spouse. Why? They remember too many times when their husband/wife has chosen to lie instead of tell the truth.


When have you seen men and women choose to lie instead of tell the truth? What does lying eventually do to relationships?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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6 thoughts on ““Just Tell Them That I’m Not Home” (Lies, Lies and More Lies)

  1. “Truth” and “trust” have the same root. If there is a lack of truth, there is soon going to be a lack of trust…and relationships cannot function without trust. The truth is integral to who we are as Christians. Jesus is “the Truth.” If we are going to be effective in living for Him, then we must be people of truth.


  2. Don,

    I appreciate your point. Unfortunately, lies compromise a relationship, since eventually, when enough of them are told, the trust that should be foundational to any relationship is worn away, and the whole relationship could collapse, since it had nothing solid to stand on in the first place. Telling lies is a crapshoot, and eventually the gamble wreaks its negative consequences. It’s better, safer, and definitely more Christlike to tell the truth (even if you don’t like it).

    • Alison, good point. There really is no little lie in a relationship. When a person lies to his/her spouse (for example), the relationship changes. No longer is the husband/wife relating to the spouse on the basis of truth but lies. And, once a person becomes used to lying to his spouse about “little” things, it becomes a foothold to begin lying about some really significant matters. Most of all, lying simply destroys the integrity of the marriage which his based on promise and trust.

  3. Jim–

    I heard an analogy somewhere that I think kind of fits in with this. Think of your relationships as towers built with those Jenga blocks we used to play with. Every time you lie, you remove one of the blocks. Your first lies are the “safe” kind, not the blocks that will knock down the whole thing. As your relationship goes farther, the risk level of your lies increases until one day, you pull out the wrong block and the whole thing crashes, or your partner pulls it for you, since he/she can’t stand being played for a sucker. Regardless of the kind of lies, they do indeed take their toll. Maybe we should amend our grandmothers’ wisdom: “If you haven’t got anything true to say, don’t say anything at all”.

  4. Alison,
    I somehow missed the comment that you made a few days ago regarding lies. Wonderful analogy regarding the blocks. So true! Thanks for this comment.