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Messing Up

Consequences and forgiveness

by Janice Ross

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To consider the consequences of telling lies and doing wrong.

Preparation and materials

  • Have available the YouTube video ‘Pinocchio’s Lie’ and the means to show it during the assembly. It is 1.46 minutes long and is available at:

  • You will need six children to act out the story in the ‘Assembly’, Step 6. They will need time to rehearse prior to the assembly.

    The six parts are Jesus, Peter, Narrator, Servant 1, Servant 2 and Person in crowd. The story can be found in Matthew 26.31-35 and Matthew 26.69-75.

  • Have available the following YouTube videos and the means to show them during the assembly:

    - ink blots spreading, available at: (1.10 minutes long)
    - ripples on a pond, available at: (0.10 minutes long)


  1. Ask the children whether they have ever seen a fly getting stuck in a spider’s web. It’s not much fun to watch. The fly struggles and buzzes to no avail. The more it struggles, the more entangled it becomes. Finally, the spider comes along and winds the fly up in sticky thread to enjoy for tea later!

    This is a good illustration of how we can get entangled in doing wrong.

  2. Ask the children if they have read the book or seen the film, Pinocchio. The story was written by Carlo Collodi and became one of Disney’s most popular films. It tells the tale of a poor carpenter called Geppetto who has no wife or family. One day, he is feeling so lonely that he decides to carve himself a puppet boy out of wood, whom he names Pinocchio.

    Like all children, Pinocchio has many lessons to learn, the most famous being that he shouldn’t tell lies. Let’s see what happens when Pinocchio tells a lie.

  3. Show the YouTube video ‘Pinocchio’s Lie’.

  4. Point out that lies tend to entangle us. In Pinocchio’s case, telling lies made his nose grow, and it grew so long that he even ended up with a birds nest at the end of it! It shows us that lies can lead to more lies, which become more and more complicated.

    Whether it is lying, cheating or bullying, when we start to do something wrong, it can be difficult to get out of it.

  5. Explain that the Bible is full of stories about people who really messed up. Jesus understood that this would happen. Part of the Easter story is about one of Jesus’ best friends called Peter, and he messed up in a big way!

  6. Explain that six children are going to act out the story of Peter.

    Jesus: Peter, even you will disown me. Before the cock crows, you will deny three times that you ever knew me.

    Peter (looking shocked): No way, Lord! I will never do that!

    Narrator: And just a short time later . . .

    Servant 1: You were with Jesus.

    Peter: No, I wasn’t! I don’t know what youre talking about.

    Servant 2: This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth.

    Peter: No, I wasn’t! I don’t know the man!

    Narrator: At this point, Peter even swore!

    Person in crowd: You definitely are one of them - your accent gives you away.

    Narrator: Peter began to get really upset and to behave very badly, swearing that he had never met Jesus. Immediately, a cock crowed and of course, Peter remembered what Jesus had said. He went outside and wept bitterly.

    Ask the children to return to their seats.

  7. Point out that this is not the end of the story. Jesus wasn’t finished with Peter. He understood how easy it is to get things wrong and mess up. Jesus wanted to forgive Peter and for things to be put right again.

  8. Following Peter’s denial of Jesus, Jesus was killed – Peter must have felt awful. However, three days later, Peter heard the great news that Jesus had come back to life. Later, Jesus spent some time with Peter and on one occasion, took Peter for a walk, asking him if he loved him and wanted to follow him. Peter said that he did want to follow Jesus and that he loved him very much. Jesus made it clear that he forgave Peter and from there, Peter became one of the first leaders of the Christian Church. (The story is found in John 21.)

Time for reflection

Explain that you are going to show the children two short videos. Ask the children if they can work out how the videos relate to this assembly.

Show the YouTube videos of ink blots spreading and ripples on a pond.

Listen to a range of responses.

Explain that a small wrong can spread out like ink on a page or ripples in water. The wrong can become bigger and bigger and affect more and more people. However, we can all be forgiven and we can all be forgiving kinds of people.

Challenge the children to consider whether they need to forgive and give someone another chance. Challenge them as to whether they need to say sorry for something that they have done wrong.

Dear God,
We know that we do wrong things at times, sometimes little things, sometimes big things.
We also know that little wrong things don’t take long to grow bigger.
Help us to be quick to say sorry and to ask forgiveness.
Help us to be quick to forgive when people do something wrong to us.
Thank you that you love to forgive us when we ask.

Publication date: April 2019   (Vol.21 No.4)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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