Gabe took his place at the breakfast table. His fine, damp blond hair was neatly combed and parted. His head tipped down.
“Hi, Gabe,” I said. “You look nice.”
“Thanks, Mom,” he said, still looking at his lap.
I took my hand and raised his chin. A good-sized notch had been cut from his long fringe of bangs. I gasped.
“Gabe, did you cut your hair?”
My son went scarlet. “No, Mama.”
“Gabe,” I said. “Your hair isn't a big deal. But it’s important for a man to be honest. Now, did you cut your hair?”
“Gabriel, you know that God loves you and He told us not to lie.”
I excused myself from the table and went to find Lonny. He assessed the situation. “We need to tell him that we know he’s lying. And there should be a consequence.”
I remembered that once, as an adult, I’d done something quite wrong, too, and I didn’t confess right away. I was ashamed. It took some time for me to respond to the Lord’s work in my heart.“ Let’s give him chance to come clean,” I said. “Please?”
Lonny agreed. But the whole day passed. Gabe was sullen. But he didn’t fess up. Every time I saw his notched-out bangs, I felt sad. Why couldn’t he confess? By evening, I was frustrated. How could he look at us and lie? Lord, let him do the right thing.
We worked through the usual routine at bedtime, and Gabe remained silent. I sat on the bed while Lonny worked with the boys on Awana verses. He prayed. The boys prayed. Then Gabe ducked his head deep under the covers and rolled to face the wall.
Lonny’s eyes locked on mine. Then he bent over Gabriel and spoke through the blanket.
“Do you want to talk, Gabe?”
“A man’s word…”
“I cut my hair. With the scissors in the school room.” The words were quiet, high pitched, and muffled through thick, burgundy cotton. “And I lied, too.”
I sighed. Thank you, Lord, for working in his little life.
“We care more about your heart,” Lonny said. “Than your hair, Gabe.”
Lonny pulled the covers from his little son’s head, brushed what was left of his bangs from his eyes, and spoke tenderly to him about sin and forgiveness and our need for Jesus. Then he met him with grace.
I’m not sure if we handled things the right way. And I wish that my little son would’ve come clean earlier than he did. But when Gabe folded his hands and thanked Jesus for covering his untruth, I was glad to see, at last, Honest Gabe.