Several days ago I was kidding around with my oldest daughter Emeline and she said to me, “Are you lying?” I said, “No, I’m not lying, I’m kidding.” Here expression revealed that she wasn’t sure what the difference between the two was. Honestly, I wasn’t sure how to explain it either. Later in the day this incident repeated itself, and as I walked away my spirit was crushed. Surely it is acceptable and reasonable for us to jest and be playful with people, but sometimes we can take things to such an extreme that our joking begins to taint the legitimacy and integrity of our words.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I have been exasperating my children, to some degree, in the way that I playfully deceive them (now isn’t that an interesting word – playful deceit). My children should be able to believe that my words are trustworthy. However, by excessive playful interaction I can cause them to question whether or not my words are true. This is a form of exasperating my children. The danger of this is that it could eventually cause them to question even the most important things that I tell them. It may not seem like a big deal that I could tease them about something minor, and typically it probably isn’t. But it doesn’t cause them to question the truthfulness of my words. If they question the small things, how long will it be before they begin to question the words of life we speak to them from the Scriptures?

All this to say that I sat down with Emeline yesterday, told her of my foolishness, and said I would “tease” and “kid” less becuase I wanted her to understand that my words were both trustworthy and true.