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An assembly from the Culham St Gabriel archive

Suitable for Whole School (Sec) - Church Schools


To consider what it means to be truthful.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need a leader and two readers.

  • You will also need to display the following phrases.

    - Truth – stating the facts as they are.
    - Truth – living rightly.


Leader: In general, we are all brought up to tell the truth; if we did not tell the truth, life could become impossible. We rely upon people telling us the truth so that life can continue normally. Telling the truth shows that we are reliable and dependable.

We all think we know what truth is, but do we really? Like many words and ideas, ‘truth’ can have more than one meaning. It is important to know what ‘truth’ really means when we use it.

Show the first phrase (Truth – stating the facts as they are).
Point out that, although this sounds good, it could have disastrous consequences.

Point out that, alongside telling the truth, we are also brought up to keep promises and to do all that we can to preserve life. But what happens when two of these ideals conflict with one another? Which do we choose and how do we decide?

Ask the two readers to come to the front.

Reader 1
: Imagine that you’re sitting at home watching The Simpsons. Suddenly, there is a loud knocking at the door. When you open it, a friend is standing there who says, ‘Help! Hide me! There’s a guy following me with a knife - he’s out to get me!’

You do as the friend asks and hide them. You have fulfilled your obligation to preserve life. You feel good about it and you go back to watching The Simpsons.

Reader 2: Minutes later, there is another burst of knocking at the door. When you open the door, there is a man holding a knife standing there. The man asks if you have seen your friend and where your friend is hiding. You reply that your friend is upstairs. The man rushes past you and up the stairs. In the fight that follows, your friend is seriously hurt. You have fulfilled your obligation to always tell the truth!

Reader 1: This is a very extreme example, but there are many more ordinary examples.

A friend asks you how she looks in some new clothes she has bought. They dont suit her at all. Do you say, Fine, and allow her to go out and be laughed at by others? Or do you tell her the truth and save her making a fool of herself, even if you lose her friendship in the process?

Reader 2: Difficult choices! What should you do?

Maybe we need Jesus help. Why him? Because over the centuries, his help and advice have helped many people.

Reader 1: A passage in the Bible (John 8.31-32) says, If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.

Leader: Show the second phrase (Truth – living rightly).

Reader 1: As Jesus uses the word, ‘truth’ means doing the right thing, the appropriate thing. Jesus always put people before rules and looked at what would be best for them. He said that if people were living in Gods way, they would always do what was best for other people.

Reader 2: Centuries earlier, in Hebrews 8.10, the prophet Jeremiah had said much the same thing, I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts.’

Knowing what to do and how to choose should be instinctive, like breathing and knowing that 2 + 2 = 4

Reader 1: It is helpful to look at the life of Jesus and his words to us, and consider the way that he dealt with people.

Reader 2: We can then try to use these things in our own dealings with others.

Reader 1: It takes practice to deal with people and situations in an honest and caring way.

Reader 2: But the more we practise, the more we will learn how to make the right choices. In the end, we will hopefully be able to do so without needing to think about it too much.

Time for reflection

Do we think that telling the truth is important?

Do we want to be people whose lives are marked by the honest way in which we live?

Dear God,
Please help us to live our lives in a truthful and honest way.
Please help us to look at examples of people in the past whose lives showed integrity.
Please help us to be known as people who help and honour those around us.

Publication date: November 2016   (Vol.18 No.11)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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