Lee grew up with garden tomatoes and has been encouraging a summer garden adventure, so for the last few weeks, we’ve been cultivating some tomato seedlings inside. The other day I came into the kitchen to inspect the plants, and discovered them all missing.
Upon questioning, none of my children have admitted any responsibility. We are pretty sure it wasn’t baby, since the soil is undisturbed and no evidence of plants anywhere. She doesn’t have the subtlety to hide evidence yet.
We’re pretty sure we know the culprit, but the culprit
maintains innocence. The culprit has expressed suspicion of the baby, but not the other sibling, who was “not near the plants when it happened.”
What to do? When we’re not absolutely certain, we’re quite reluctant to say “You’re lying.” The harmful effects of a false accusation seem to be greater than allowing a guilty conscience to fester for a time. At the same time, lying is very serious, a sin that God hates (Proverbs 6:16-17). We want to take it seriously, too.
We’ve had some serious discussions with the apparently guilty child, but no success finding the truth.
Maybe we should talk about Achan in Joshua 7. Maybe we should memorize some verses about truth telling and lying.
A conscience is something that develops physically and spiritually, on a timetable and path that is different for each child. We’ve not seen much evidence of a guilty conscience yet with our children. Yes, they hide their behavior when they are being naughty, so it’s often clear when they know their behavior is sinful. But there’s little overall sense of what it means to be a sinner separated from God. Meanwhile, Lee and I have been praying that God will not let our children deceive and remain uncaught. We are praying that God will use this situation to draw our children to himself.