I often say the children must not pause to reason with deceit. There will always be an appealing snare when discussions are held in the darkness of our own minds. Blurting out the truth is sometimes the only way to escape a lie. A lie is never better than the truth. Nothing we do is so bad that it cannot be repaired in the light of truth.
If I am to speak this to my children then the mirror of my life must reflect the same thing. Questions about Santa, where babies come from, will Daddy be safe in Iraq (years ago) and the like, often generate a pause in my answer. However, careful responses must never contain white-lies. There are no white-lies, a lie is a lie, and Salome' would show you by pointing to her arm pit, that lies are from the pit!
Speaking truth can be painful and in our household there are always consequences for wrongs done. The question is always the same, "What did you do?" It is not, "Why did you do it?" Once truth is established without lengthy explanation, just consequences are followed by asking for and giving forgiveness, and finally, we are given a "clean slate". The term, clean slate, came from our friends Jim and Rochelle, it means it is finished, all is well, and the offense will never be brought up again. If, in 5 minutes, the wrong doing is repeated, there is no reference to the prior act. To live with a clean slate is to hold no hurts against each other. It means we walk in freedom and transparency and forgiveness. Unforgiveness is a weight no one is intended to bear. To not forgive hurts the one who denies it as much as he to whom it is denied.
Our clean slate begins with living in Truth. It means I do not have freedom to hide things, but if truth is painful I must tell it gently. No truth should blast or leave the recipient in a bloody heap. And to believe humbly that any wrongful act done by you could equally be done by me is the beginning of healing. Truth stands alone. Almost-true is the drop of poison in a cup of water, or the last length of bridge across a chasm that was never laid.
My life must stand on the absolute of Truth. I cannot require of anyone what I am not willing to be myself. It is the daily surrender, the dashing and the flexing I do that allows me to tell Malachi, "Yes, I can definitely see those truth muscles!"