Tell the Truth
Sometimes, it is difficult to tell the truth
by Jan Edmunds (revised, originally published in 2010)
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To consider that it is best to tell the truth.
Preparation and materials
You will need to be familiar with the Bible story of Peter’s denial of Jesus, found in Luke 22.54-62. You may wish to read or retell this story.
The story I’m going to tell you today happened many years ago. It is a true story, although names have been changed.
There were once two little girls. One was called Raisa and the other, Jenny. They were great friends and always enjoyed playing together. One rainy day, Jenny had been at Raisa’s house all afternoon. Her mother had just arrived to fetch her home for tea. Both mothers were busy talking in the sitting room, and Jenny and Raisa were sent into the kitchen to get a drink.
There was a wonderful smell of baking and there, on the table, were several trays of freshly baked cakes and tarts. This made the girls feel very hungry. The jam tarts looked particularly tempting, with their shiny, red, strawberry jam.
‘Shall we have a taste?’ said Raisa. Both girls knew that they shouldn’t really take one, especially without asking.
‘We could just taste the jam,’ said Jenny. ‘Then no one will know.’
The children dipped their fingers into the lovely, warm, red jam. Yum, yum, delicious. They decided that by taking a little jam from each tart, no one would be any the wiser.
Eventually, the two mothers came to look for them. On entering the kitchen, they were met by two little girls with very jammy, sticky faces.
‘What have you been doing?’ said Raisa’s mother, as if she didn’t know.
‘Nothing,’ said the girls.
‘Have you been eating the jam tarts?’ asked Jenny’s mother.
‘No,’ said Jenny.
‘Then why are your faces red? Why are your fingers sticky? What is all that round your mouths?’
‘I don’t know,’ said each of the girls.
‘I think you’re telling fibs,’ said Jenny’s mother.
Both girls began to cry. They felt very guilty.
‘Why didn’t you own up?’ asked Raisa’s mother.
‘Because we thought we’d get into trouble,’ admitted the girls.
‘I’m not so cross because you ate the jam, I’m more concerned that you were not brave enough to own up to it,’ said Raisa’s mother. ‘Don’t you know that although it’s sometimes hard to tell the truth, one lie can lead to another, which can make matters even worse?’
‘It is important to know that we can always trust you to tell the truth,’ said Jenny’s mother.
Both girls felt ashamed of what they had done and said they were sorry. However, they had learned a very important lesson.
You might like to spend a little time discussing the story. Stress that it is far braver to own up to something by telling the truth than to lie about it.
In the Easter story, just after Jesus had been arrested, Peter denied that he even knew Jesus. Peter was terrified that if he said that he was one of Jesus’ friends, the soldiers would arrest him, too. So Peter said three times that he didn’t know Jesus and that he was not one of his followers. After three times, Jesus turned and looked at Peter. Suddenly, Peter realized what he had done and, even though he was a tough fisherman, he began to cry because he felt so bad. (The story is told in each of the four gospels in the Bible. You can find the story in Matthew 26.31–35, 69–75; Mark 14.29–31, 69–72; Luke 22.31–34, 54–62; and John 18.25–27).
Time for reflection
Ask the children to think about each of these questions in turn, pausing to allow time for thought after each one.
- Think about the two girls in the story.
- Think about Peter saying he didn’t know Jesus.
- Have you ever said you weren’t friends with someone because you were afraid of what might happen to you?
- What would you have done if you had been Peter?
God be in my head and in my understanding.
God be in my eyes and in my looking.
God be in my mouth and in my speaking.
God be in my heart and in my thinking.
‘Give me oil in my lamp’ (Come and Praise, 43)