How can something as seemingly benign as Tylenol be as dangerous as arsenic? That’s the question Madison and her parents asked my husband after she swallowed more than fifty capsules, because she was caught in a bad lie, had a bad headache, bad cramps and a bad fight with her boyfriend.

Madison didn’t think that Tylenol was “any big deal.” And she didn’t realize it would hurt her; after all, she had taken it since she was a kid. Even Madison’s parents were lulled into a sense of benign familiarity with Tylenol. They weren’t alarmed when she told them she had “taken too much.”

Her plans for a prom dress, along with her spot on the state track team, dissolved as quickly as the dozens of caplets dissolved in her stomach. As I write, Madison lies in a hospital bed waiting for the lab results from my husband. In less than five percent of patients experiencing this level of Tylenol toxicity, the liver heals.

There is a spiritual lesson for each of us buried in this tragic story. Just as the little white tablets of Tylenol are common and seem harmless, the little white lies we tell are common and seem harmless. But are they really?

Does God differentiate little lies from BIG lies? Though you and I differentiate levels or degrees of lies, Scripture does not. Light can’t exist in the presence of darkness. Lies can’t exist in the presence of truth. The issue at hand is much larger, as Jesus explains in Luke 16:10:

“If you are faithful in little things,
you will be faithful in large ones.
But if you are dishonest in little things,
you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.”

I ask myself: Am I faithful in matters that may seem unimportant and truthful in matters that may seem insignificant? To God the small things matter. Jesus wants us to succeed in small trials so that we can flourish in larger ones. He’s cheering for us to prove ourselves faithful so that He can entrust us with greater spiritual gifts (Luke 19:17). He’s thrilled to bless us!

Lies are deceptive. Yet like Tylenol, little white lies can make us feel better. They can temporarily take away the pain, hurt, anxiety, or embarrassment yet they can be fatal to friendships, toxic to marriages, and poisonous to children. The next time you take Tylenol, might you remember that honesty is always the best policy? Both our lives and our livers are at stake. Speaking of livers, I’m just dying to give you an update on Madison! After nearly a month in the hospital, Madison gets to leave just in time for her prom. She received her miracle!

Note: While truth is unchanging, to respect privacy, names in this article were changed.

Tylenol and Truth

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