In talking with the children on Sunday about the 10 Commandments, I asked them which was the hardest for them to follow. Every child said number 9 was the hardest! Do you know what number 9 is? Do not lie. Even the small little lies that we tell to protect other people are not ok. Sounds harsh, but it is true. Read this poem together as a family:
When you tell one lie, it leads to another
So you tell two lies to cover each other
Then you tell three lies and, Oh Brother,
You’re in trouble up to your ears!
So you tell four lies to try to protect you
Then you tell five lies so folks won’t suspect you
Then you tell six lies and you’ll collect
A life filled with worries and fears
‘Cause you can’t remember how many lies you’ve told
And half the things you say aren’t true
And sometime you’ll slip up, you’ll trip up and then
Whatever will become of you?
The trouble with lies is that they don’t go away once they are told. They spread. Lies make a mess of friendships. They stain your character. They become so big and unmanageable that the whole focus of your life is spent taking care of the lies.
Try this –
Have your family sit around the kitchen table. Direct them to hold their hand out in front of their body and make a cup with their palm. Place a napkin under their hand. Pour a few drops of Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup into their palm. Tell them they need to keep it in their hand. It can’t drip out.
This syrup represents a lie. Sometimes lies are fun right? They are exciting. Kind of like chocolate syrup. It tastes good in your mouth. It is sweet and yummy. When you lie to get out of trouble, or to avoid a consequence, it feels like you are winning. At first.
Remind your kids that they need to keep the lie (chocolate) in their hand. Don’t let it slip out.
Ask the question, “Who likes to work?” If your family is anything like mine, not very many hands will shoot up in the affirmative. Did you know that lying is actually a lot of work? It takes effort to remember the lies that you tell. Sometimes, you have to tell more lies to cover up the first lie that was spoken.
Pour more chocolate syrup into their palm.
Ask your kids if it is starting to get hard to keep the syrup in their hands? Are they getting tired of their lies?
What happens after the initial excitement of a lie passes? Typically, a person will start to feel guilty. Have you ever told a lie and then felt bad afterwards? Have them share experiences out loud as a group.
Add a little more chocolate syrup to their hands to represent guilt.
Now, you have the burden of guilt added to the burden of remembering what lies you have told and the hassle of telling more lies to keep your story together. It can wear you out!
Ask your kids if they would like to go play a game or do a puzzle. Suggest going on a bike ride or coloring with sidewalk chalk. Does that sound fun? It does! But, wait….they have those lies all over their hands. The lies have made it so they can’t do the things they like to do.
Sometimes telling lies makes it so we loose friends or special privileges. People can’t trust you to tell the truth. Being dishonest makes life an icky sticky mess!
By now, your kids are really going to be tired of holding the syrup in their hands. My little boy was dying to wash it off. It was driving him nuts. That is good!
Tell them that there is a way to make the lies better. They can repent and be washed clean. When we confess, say sorry, and try hard to keep the commandments, we can be forgiven! Jesus made is possible for us to be clean and free of the burden of our mistakes.
Let them wash their hands. It feels so good to have them clean and free of the sticky chocolate syrup.Challenge your family to remember the burden of chocolate covered hands and how good it feels to have clean hands. When we choose honesty, we are free to do the things in life that make us happy and that are fun. When we choose deceit, we are tied to our lies and unable to do anything but hold on to them and keep them from making everything else a mess.