It’s easy for moms and dads to come up with reasons for taking a “character vacation.” You may think, for instance, “Everyone else cheats on their taxes, so why shouldn’t I? Or, No one will care if I take a few things from the office (or factory) to use at home.” But once you start your slide into the pit of rationalization, it’s very difficult to climb back out—and equally tough to keep your children from joining you.
In the first days of the Christian church, a man named Ananias and his wife, Sapphira, thought they could fool God by appearing to be generous. First they sold a piece of property. Then Ananias, with his wife’s knowledge, kept some of the money and presented the rest to the apostles, pretending that it was the full amount from the sale. Peter confronted him: “What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.” Ananias immediately fell down and died. When Sapphira arrived later, also pretending that they had given the full amount, she too died at Peter’s feet (Acts 5:1–10).
Our kids are watching our character closely. God is watching, too. He knows when our actions are forthright and when we distort the truth: “The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity” (Proverbs 11:3). We must remember—and teach our children—that God’s desire for us is to keep our character intact.