The importance of truthfulness
by Alison Thurlow (revised, originally published in 2014)
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To encourage us to think about the importance of telling the truth.
Preparation and materials
- You will need to have prepared some simple questions about yourself for the true or false game in the ‘Assembly’, Step 1.
- Optional: you may wish to display an image to illustrate the story of Daniel in the lions’ den in the ‘Assembly’, Step 3, in which case you will also need the means to do so. Examples are available at: https://tinyurl.com/3azx4kbe and http://www.christart.com/christianbooks/read/4862/8
- Optional: you may wish to display the questions that are used in the ‘Time for reflection’ part of the assembly, in which case you will also need the means to do so.
- Introduce the assembly by saying that today, we are going to be thinking about truthfulness. Tell the children that you’ve prepared a short true or false game for them to play.
Tell the children three things about you – two should be false and one should be true – and ask them to try to guess which statement is true. Have three or four sets of clues for them to guess, such as ‘My middle name is . . .’ or various sporting achievements from when you were at school.
- Comment that you don’t know how many of those answers the children got right, but that it was just a game. In fact, you’re not sure that you’re very good at telling lies about yourself. However, in the Bible story today, some people are brilliant at telling lies and one person is excellent at telling the truth, even though it costs him a lot to do so.
Ask the children to listen carefully and see whether they can work out who told the lies and who told the truth in this story.
- Optional: show the image that illustrates the story of Daniel in the lions’ den.
Daniel in the Lions’ Den
Daniel was living in a country far from his home, but he always worked hard. The king noticed how hard Daniel was working and put him in charge of his kingdom. Some other men who worked for the king were jealous of Daniel. However, they could find nothing to accuse him of, so they resorted to plotting and lies instead.
The men visited the king and persuaded him to pass a new law that everyone should worship the king, and only the king. Anyone who disobeyed this law would be thrown into the lions’ den.
Daniel heard about the new law, but the next morning, he did as he always did; he knelt down by his window and prayed to God, not to the king! The other men reported this to the king and insisted that Daniel be thrown to the lions. The king was sad because he liked Daniel, but he knew that he could not break his own law. As Daniel was being dragged to the lions’ den, the king whispered a little prayer – a prayer to Daniel’s God, asking that Daniel might be saved.
The king was so worried that he hardly slept a wink that night. Early the next morning, he rushed to the lions’ den.
‘Are you still there?’ shouted the king.
‘Yes!’ replied Daniel. ‘My God knew that I was innocent, so he sent an angel to keep me safe and stop the lions from eating me. I’m fine – really I am!’
The king was relieved to hear Daniel’s voice. He had Daniel pulled out of the lions’ den as quickly as he could. What’s more, he had the men who had tricked him thrown to the lions, and he passed another new law. This law said that people should worship Daniel’s God – the God who had rescued Daniel from the lions.
Ask the children, ‘Who told the lies in this story? Who told the truth?’
Listen to a range of responses.
Time for reflection
Explain that we’re going to think about this story and what we could learn from it about telling the truth.
Ask the children to turn to the person next to them and have a go at answering these questions.
Optional: you may wish to display the questions on a screen one at a time and listen to some responses before moving on to the next question.
- Why didn’t the other servants like Daniel?
- Why didn’t Daniel bow down and worship the king instead of worshipping God?
- What do you think you would have done if you had been Daniel?
- Can you think of a time when you have stood up for the truth in a difficult situation?
- Is it ever OK to tell a lie?
Pause to allow time for discussion and listen to a range of responses.
Daniel believed in something so strongly that he was willing to risk everything – even his life – to stand up for that truth. In the story, God honoured him for his truthfulness and saved him from the lions. Suggest that this sets us a good example always to try to stand up for the truth and (if appropriate) to know that God will be with us in that decision to tell the truth. It might be easier to tell a little lie on occasions, but one lie often leads to another, which can mean that lots of people get hurt in the process. It would be good to aim to be like Daniel and to tell the truth on all occasions!
Thank you for the example of Daniel.
Please help us to be brave enough always to tell the truth.
Please also help us to know that you will be with us when we find that hard to do.