Youth Group Lesson on Honesty
Bible: Luke 16:1-15
The Big Idea: The power of the truth.
Honesty is one of those areas that students that we serve can see Christ very clearly or vice versa.
Teenagers really do watch us, and that’s one of the reasons that honesty is so important.
Ask yourself honestly – what was the last lie that you told? (And if you are trying right now to reason with yourself that ‘it was just a white lie or an omission’ – yes, count that one).
I don’t know about you, but this is one area in which God is constantly sharpening me.
When I go to God and really ask him to search my heart, my words, and to let me know how I might have failed – these are the times that I have been not only truly humbled, but I also find that I hear God more clearly.
He helps me to grow in ways that simply were not possible before.
Each of us can probably think of a story of a teenager that we’ve known who was dishonest and it caused them a lifetime of hurt.
This lesson today just might be something that a student will remember in a key time in which they can make a decision to be honest and save them and others from hurt.
OPENING GAME – You Lie
Boxes with crazy and creative things to put in boxes for the game (see below)
Room divider or sheet
This game originated on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
Click here to see a very funny example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8vNn0WFUnY
HOW TO PLAY THE GAME
Choose 2 contestants, one to be the guesser and the other to either tell them the truth or a lie.
Set up a divider between 2 contestants facing one another.
You could even have 2 other youth volunteers hold up a sheet leaving the top open for the 2 contestants to be able to see one another’s faces.
Try to come up with the most random and strange items to put in shoeboxes.
Have the first contestant choose a box.
They will explain or lie and give a made up explanation to the other contestant of the contents of their box.
Their opponent will guess whether they are telling the truth or lying.
This game could go on as long as you wish and you could even show them the clip of Jimmy Fallon and Emma Stone at the end.
After the game, ask:
How could you tell when the contestants were lying?
Who surprised you the most with their ‘performance’ in this game?
How is this game like real life?
Why do you think that people lie?
TEACH – Youth Group Lesson on Honesty
Share a story from your life, funny or serious, in which you told a lie and the consequences that followed.
This game and my story show a funny side of lying and being dishonest, but let’s be honest: It really is a big deal.
Think about a time recently that you have lied.
I am not going to ask you to share and don’t worry, your parents aren’t hiding in the back to catch you.
Just think about a lie that you’ve told: Why did you lie?
What were you afraid would happen if you didn’t lie?
Now, whether others figured out that you lied—you knew right?
See, that’s the lie that you can tell yourself about lying: That no one will know.
But, that’s not true is it? Because you know.
Maybe it doesn’t matter to you, but I would argue that it does.
I need 2 volunteers to help act out a parable that Jesus told:
Read Luke 16:1-8a.
Choose a person to be the rich man and another to be the manager.
Read the Scripture and have students act it out as you are reading.
When you get to the part where they bring in other debtors, just have the manager grab people from the crowd!
Have the volunteers sit down.
Jesus told parables to share deep kingdom ideas in simple ways……so what do you think that Jesus was trying to say with this parable?
I am going to have you get into groups of 5-6 and I want you to come up with 2 theories of what you think Jesus was trying to teach: and yes, one will be a truth and the other will be a lie.
We might all be completely confused by the time this lesson is over, but have fun with it.
Give the group about 5 minutes to think of their theories and then, if time allows, give them a chance to present their theories to the large group.
Try to guess which is the truth, and which is the lie, or if there are more than 6 groups, have groups pair up to try to guess on each others’ theories.
Jesus actually does go on to give us more clues into what he was trying to get at with his parable:
Read Luke 18:8a-15
So, which of our theories do you think was the closest to what Jesus was trying to say?
Ok, here is my theory on what Jesus was trying to teach – creatively:
Honesty doesn’t make sense to the world.
The world deals in money and profit, getting ahead and protecting yourself, and covering your back.
And when we desire those things more than we desire for God to be first, we let those things master us.
We begin to say, do, and think things are ok that we never would have before, and sometimes we even come up with rationalizations that sound good to us.
They probably sound good to the world and others might even tell you that what you are doing is just fine.
By the world’s standards it might be fine, but those aren’t the standards that matter to God.
Can you think of an example in our culture in which lying is actually ‘ok’?
Give the groups a few minutes to think of examples to share.
And here is a really important question: if nobody knows, is it really lying?
Is it still ok if no one knows or no one else is hurt?
Because Jesus is saying that even the small things matter.
If you are not honest with a small thing like an answer on a test or telling your parents what time you REALLY got home, can you be trusted to be honest when the stakes are much higher?
What do you think Jesus would say in those instances?
Does it matter?
I believe that the answer is ‘yes’.
Because if we played that game for days and days on end, training ourselves to lie and how to not give away that we are lying….lying does get easier.
There are probably some of you in this room who can really convince someone that you are innocent. Right?
Jesus is basically saying that as his children, we are to live differently.
He even pointed to the Pharisees, the leaders, and basically told them that they are fooling everyone but not God…because God knows the heart.
Today, I hope that you take some time to look into your own heart.
Don’t worry about the person who is here that you know has lied this week, because that is not the point, here.
The point is to be honest with yourself about how you have been dishonest.
Not to beat yourself up, but to start today being honest.
God knows the truth and he is actually looking for people He can trust to be honest with themselves.
The more we lie, the more we dull the ability to hear His voice and be led by His example.
Take some time tonight to be quiet and honest with God and then, this week, when you are tempted to lie, remember that when you are honest in small things….God can trust you with big ones.
It says more about you and your character than you can ever know.
Close in prayer.
SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
On a scale of 1 to 10, how honest are you right now?
Can you think of another example of how our culture seems to make it easy to tell lies?
Is it ever ok to lie? If the answer is yes, how do you know when it is ok or not?
What do you think Jesus meant when he said that “if you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones” (Luke 16:10)?
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