Last updated on May 29, 2023
I was told months ago that my mother would buy me a pair of shoes. I recently got a job. She said because I got a job, that I would have to pay for the shoes myself.
I told her I didn’t appreciate being lied to about it. She told my father and he started yelling at me. He told me I was dishonoring her by “jumping to conclusions” without good enough evidence. I thought lying was not being truthful. She told me she would get me the shoes, and she didn’t.
I admittedly am not educated enough on the Gospel as I should be. Am I right or wrong? Can you point me to scriptures that will help me understand?
Given the things that you’ve mentioned, I am guessing that you want an expensive pair of shoes and not any pair of shoes will do. I also conclude that your parents are not financially well off.
I don’t know the circumstances surrounding your mother’s offer to buy you new shoes. Was her son begging for the shoes for months and she said she would buy the shoes just to get some peace for a while? Was her son depressed and she foolishly thought she could “buy” his favor with the offer? Has she been trying to buy the shoes, but they have been impossible to find in the stores? These sorts of things do not change whether something is right or wrong, but they do become the basis on which mercy is offered when wrong is done. “For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment” (James 2:13).
Without the details of the bigger picture, we can still discuss whether your mother ought to have offered to buy you new shoes. For her to make the offer when she was uncertain if she had the money was wrong. Our agreement, yes or no, is binding as Christians. “But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath; but your yes is to be yes, and your no, no, so that you may not fall under judgment” (James 5:12). Lying is wrong. “Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices” (Colossians 3:9).
Right now, you are mad because you’ve been lied to, but I would like you to step back and see the bigger problem. I know you are personally offended, but realize that your mother is not pleasing God — regardless of her motivations. This will not go well with her come Judgment Day. Thus, the better approach is to tell her, “Mom, I’m disappointed that you told me that you would buy the shoes and then did not. I want you to know that you don’t have to lie to me. I would rather know the truth. If you can’t afford them, then that is how life is.” Hopefully, she’ll apologize and you should be gracious and forgive her. “For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions” (Matthew 6:14-15).
Then it becomes time for you to start thinking like an adult. Earn the money you need to buy your own things. When you do this, you relieve some of the burdens on your parents. And when you receive a gift from your parents or someone else, you will be a bit more appreciative because the meaning of the effort behind the gift will be more significant.
Thanks for replying! I am admittedly still upset about the situation. But not for the reasons you would think.
For reference, my pair of shoes at the time was getting old and rusty. The inside cushion of the shoes came off so every time I wore it, it would be uncomfortable for my feet. I asked my mom for new shoes, and she agreed that I needed new ones and told me she would get them for me. This continued for about 7 months and I would always remind my mom that I needed new shoes.
My father makes six figures. But I have a number of siblings, so I understand that new shoes wouldn’t be number one on their list. There also wasn’t a specific pair I wanted. I just needed some new shoes. I didn’t care if they were cheap or expensive.
Fast forward a couple of months later, I got a new job. While riding in the car, my mom told me I would have to pay for the shoes now. I told her that I don’t appreciate being lied to. I was told she would get them for me, and she didn’t. What happens next is really what I have a problem with.
My Dad and Mom told me to go to their room so we could discuss it. Upon entering, my Dad immediately started yelling at me. Not normal yelling. But yelling as if I had just hit my mother or done something that disgusting. He told me that my mother did not lie. Only that circumstances changed. He then told me that I was dishonoring my mother by falsely accusing her of sin without enough evidence. I told him I disagreed and that I don’t see how she wasn’t lying. He then told me that I won’t do it again regardless of what I think, because it’s his household and his rules, and they are the parents.
While reading your reply, it seems like you agree with me that she did lie. I have no idea how to convince them that she did lie, without them thinking I’m dishonoring them. So I really have three issues that I have questions about.
- Did my Mother lie? If she did, what are ways to convince them without having them think I’m dishonoring them?
- Was my Father’s tone inappropriate for the situation?
- I personally feel like I was gaslighted during the whole discussion and that my Father’s reaction was verbally abusive. Are my feelings valid? If not, what is a different angle I can look at this situation?
Generally, when I get questions like yours, I try to help guys see the situation from the parents’ point of view. I mentioned in my prior answer that I was doing a lot of guessing because I didn’t have enough information to be sure of what happened. Solomon warns, “The first to plead his case seems right, until another comes and examines him” (Proverbs 18:17). This makes it particularly difficult since I typically only get one side of a story and must estimate what the other side of the story might be.
Typically we use “lying” to refer to intentional deception. Your mother made a verbal commitment and then did not keep her word. Biblically, it falls in the category of dishonesty and what she did was wrong.
What your father did was also wrong. He defended his wife without considering that she was in the wrong. I would suspect that there is a history of doing this — many times he happens to be right, but a few times he is disastrously wrong.
But now it is time to look at the situation practically. From long experience, I’ve learned that you can’t make anyone do what is right. You can point out what a person has done wrong and what they ought to do, but people won’t always listen to reason. You are also in an awkward situation. By doing what is right, you stand to financially benefit. This usually causes other people to view your position with suspicion. You are also a child in the household and parents are often not used to considering that they might be in the wrong and their child is right. Therefore, the odds of changing their minds are slim.
There is another aspect that you need to understand for your own mental health. Holding on to anger never improves the situation. “Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity” (Ephesians 4:27-28). The problem with hanging on to anger is that it tends to produce bitterness in you.
Life isn’t always fair. It is hard when your parents disappoint you. But it is time to let this go. You can’t rely on what your parents say, so you start being independent. If they happen to give you something, thank them, but meanwhile plan on handling your own expenses.