“Who taught my grandson to lie?”

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One of my grandsons recently turned three and as part of his birthday celebration his mom and dad took him on a trip to see a baseball game. He is fascinated with balls, microphones, guitars, and drums. And so, his grandma and I decided to buy him a little rolling suitcase to take on the trip. Grandma thought it would be a good idea to fill it with some gum and candy and a couple of other birthday surprises.

Oh the joy on that little guy’s face as he opened the suitcase all the while making comments such as ‘cool’ and politely thanking us. He was especially enamored by the little container of gum, the kind with twenty-five or thirty pieces of rectangular gum in a plastic container with a nice little trap door opening to get the gum out. Mom made it clear that he was only allowed to chew one, which seemed fine for the moment. He offered Pa (that’s me) a piece and then Grandma. He was being very generous. He kept looking at that gum, asking mom if he could have another piece only to be told, “Only one, we need to save the rest for our trip.”

He seemed fine with that and slowly progressed from staring at the container, to opening the container, and smelling the gum. “Don’t you chew that gum” mom said “you can smell it, but don’t put it in your mouth.” Now, I thought to myself, “There is no way that that gum is going to ‘not’ get it into his mouth.” I mean let’s get serious, you cannot get any closer to your mouth than your nostrils. I was certain that the temptation for this three year old little boy would prove to be too much.

Sure enough, before anyone realized it, I noticed that his chewing patterns weren’t quite the same as his previous motions. It seemed clear to me that the gum had made it the very short distance from his little nostrils to his mouth. I brought it to his attention. His mother quickly responded, “Did you put another piece of gum in your mouth?” And that is when he promptly replied, “No, I didn’t.” Mom asked one more time, “Are you sure? We aren’t supposed to lie.” And that is when he confessed.

Mom told him he would have to have a little time out for being disobedient, put the gum away, and worse yet…spit out the gum he was chewing. He was obedient in doing so, but grandma couldn’t help but notice those few determined last ditch efforts to get in a couple of good chomps. He wanted to get every little bit of flavor out of that forbidden fresh piece of fruit…I mean bubblegum as possible before having to give it up.

As I laughed about this whole incident, I thought to myself, “Who taught my grandson to lie?” I immediately knew the answer, “No one!” He was born a little liar…just as we all were. Every time I see an episode such as this one, and they are all around us, I am reminded of this truth though there are many who refuse to admit it. Anyone who doesn’t know the answer to that question without giving it a second thought has never observed a two or three year old, or simply lives in a state of ‘children are basically good’ denial.

Psalms 58:3
The wicked are estranged from the womb; They go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies.

Some might argue that the Psalmist is speaking of the ‘wicked’ here, not an innocent little boy. But, that Psalmist was none other than David, whom God described as a man after His own heart. It was David who, after his sin against Bathsheba and her husband, also wrote:

Psalms 51:4-5
Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight—That You may be found just when You speak, And blameless when You judge. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.

I love my little grandson, and I am thankful that he loves me. His hugs and kisses are the best! However, I am not going to let his cuteness (and he is cute) distract me from the fact that he’s a little sinner, born into sin, and needs Jesus just like anyone else. I love that his parents know that as well and are training up him and his little sister accordingly.

“…when I found out my oldest daughter was a thief!”

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I remember when…I found out my oldest daughter was a thief. She was five years old at the time and had accompanied me on an errand to the local hardware store. I must have been focused on everything but my daughter and never noticed the crime. After all, who would have thought that such a petite, sweet little girl could do such a thing. But, she had me fooled…in fact, she had everyone fooled.

All was well, or so I thought, until we went through the cash register and got out to the car. That is when I found out. That is when she confessed. Holding out her hand she said, in her quiet little ‘innocent’ voice, “Look what I found on the floor in the store.” There was the evidence…sitting in her dainty little hand…the hand of a common criminal.

What did I do? The only thing that could be done. I marched her right back into the store and made her apologize to the man who checked us out and gave her a firm warning that she mustn’t take things that don’t belong to her…even if they are laying on the floor.

As I was driving through Astoria, Oregon today, I drove by a hardware store that caused me to flash back to that little hardware store in Casper, Wyoming, and this event promptly entered my mind. Isn’t it funny how that happens? Fifty-five years later, and I can still picture the look of bewilderment on her face as if to say…”What did I do wrong?” Was I too harsh? Did the punishment actually fit the crime? I guess you would have to ask her.

I am not sure if she ever stole anything (or picked up anything off the store floor) again. But, if she did, I’m pretty sure that was the last time she opened her hand and said, “Look what I found!”