Lies are often like potato chips. It’s hard to tell just one. Children often think telling “one little lie” will keep them from getting in trouble and receiving consequences. What they don’t realize is that it is very difficult to cover up something that happened with just one lie. Often, the first lie leads to many others being told to back up the original deception.
There is a fun activity you can do to help your kids realize how difficult it is to tell “just one lie”. Start by telling your kids the story of Jacob tricking Isaac found in Genesis 27. Ask your kids how many lies and “tricks” Jacob had to tell/do to get Esau’s blessing for himself. Ask them why Jacob couldn’t get the blessing from Isaac just by telling the one lie that he was Esau.
Read Proverbs 6:16-19 to your children. Explain God hates it when we lie – even one time (God still loves us, but is very unhappy when we sin. Of course, grace can cover those sins, but we must strive to no longer sin.). Tell them it is very easy though, to end up like Jacob and tell not just one lie, but lots of lies. Sometimes, a person can tell so many lies, they don’t even recognize the truth themselves any more. Lying can then become a very bad habit, which is difficult to break.
Tell your kids you want to do an experiment to show them what you mean. Give each child a scenario and tell them for this game, they must try to tell only one lie to keep from getting caught and being punished. They must continue until you believe their original lie.
For younger children, you may want to keep it very simple. Perhaps, you found your favorite vase was broken. The child you “confront” did break it, but must try to convince you it was broken in some other way. For older children, you can do a “murder mystery” or accuse them of some other more sophisticated “crime” they committed, but for which they must convince you of their innocence (They will particularly enjoy this if they are in their mystery reading phase of childhood!).
After the activity, talk about the importance of always telling the truth. You may also need to point out the various types of lies – half-truths, omission, etc. If you have a child who is lying constantly, you may have to also share the story of Ananias and Sapphira, found in Acts 5:1-11. You don’t want to frighten your kids, but they do need to begin to understand how extremely serious God is about always telling the truth. Have fun with it, but it’s vital your kids understand the importance of being honest.