Our Honesty Prayer
Help us to be honest when we do something wrong.
Help us not to blame other people, but acknowledge our mistakes,
and apologise and so learn and move on.
The Temptation of Adam and Eve
One day, when Adam and Eve were walking separately in the garden, a serpent – or a snake – wriggled up to Eve, and asked her, was she really allowed to eat the fruit of any tree in the garden? Eve replied yes, but not the one in the middle, as God had told them that if they did eat from that tree, they would die.
‘Oh no, you won’t,’ said the serpent. ‘God just doesn’t want you to eat from that tree, because if you did, you would know as much as God, and God doesn’t want you to know as much as God does. Why don’t you try it? You won’t die, you’ll just know as much as God.’
So Eve looked at the tree, and saw that the fruit (hold up your apple) looked very tasty. So she picked a fruit and ate some. When she did, the serpent was right, she didn’t die. And the fruit was delicious. So she found Adam, told him what had happened and gave him some fruit to eat.
Adam ate the fruit, and then the story tells us that now they realised that they didn’t have any clothes on! So they made clothes like swimming costumes from leaves, and then hid from God.
So when God arrived in the garden that evening for his walk with Adam and Eve, he couldn’t find them. God called out to them, and when they came out, he asked them ‘What have you done?’
Adam said, ‘It wasn’t my fault. She told me to do it.’ And Eve said, ‘It wasn’t my fault, the serpent told me to do it.’ And the serpent just looked smug.
Text Copyright © 1999-2018 SPCK, London, UK.
Were Adam and Eve honest when God caught them eating the forbidden fruit?
Who did they try to blame?
Are we honest when caught out? What should we do?
Moses and the Ten Commandments
Moses is one of the great biblical heroes and is revered by Christians, Jews and Muslims. There are many stories about this great and inspirational leader, but one of the things that we most associate with Moses is the Ten Commandments.
The story starts when Moses leads the Hebrew people to escape from slavery in Egypt. They began a long and dangerous journey into the desert. Moses told the people that God would be their guide and would help them. They knew that they were now free to go wherever they wanted and do whatever they wanted. At first, everyone enjoyed the freedom, but it was not long before some people began to complain. The desert was a dangerous place and they wanted to know how long they would have to wander there. The people also complained that they were hungry. Although they had been slaves in Egypt, they had still had enough food. Looking back, the people began to say that they had been better off before and that life was easier in Egypt.
Moses tried to keep the people’s spirits high and led them on through the desert until they came to the Oasis of Sinai. Here, there was water and food and they could set up their tents for a while. It was on Mount Sinai that God gave Moses a list of rules about the best way to live: The Ten Commandments!
The first four commandments are about loving God; the others are about loving other people.
With our theme of honesty, number nine - Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness Against Thy Neighbour - is very important. Don't lie - in other words, be honest!
Have You Ever Told A Lie? Peter Denies Jesus Three Times
Matthew 26:31-35; John 18:15-18, 25-27
When Jesus was with his apostles in the upper room, he said to them: ‘All of you will abandon me tonight.’ Peter said: ‘Not I! Even if all the others leave you, I will never leave you.’ But Jesus told Peter: ‘Before a rooster crows, you will say three times that you don’t know me.’
When the soldiers took Jesus to the house of Caiaphas, most of the apostles fled. But two of them followed in the crowd. One of them was Peter. He went into the courtyard of the house of Caiaphas and warmed himself by the fire. In the light, a servant girl saw Peter’s face and said: ‘I know you! You were with Jesus!’
Peter said: ‘No, I wasn’t! I don’t know what you’re talking about!’ He headed toward the gate. But soon another servant girl saw him and told the crowd: ‘This man was with Jesus!’ Peter said: ‘I don’t even know Jesus!’ A man said: ‘You are one of them! I can tell from your accent that you are from Galilee, like Jesus.’ But Peter swore: ‘I don’t know him!’
At that moment, a rooster crowed. Peter saw Jesus turn and look at him. He remembered Jesus’ words, and he went outside and wept bitterly.
Why Do We Tell Lies?
To make ourselves look better? Did his three lies make Peter look better?
To avoid being embarrassed? Was Peter embarrassed to be a follower of Jesus?
To avoid getting into trouble? What would have happened to Peter if he had told the truth?
What Is Honesty?
Telling the truth - explaining what really happened. Why couldn't Peter be honest?
Honesty is not spreading rumours, cheating or stealing - that is dishonesty.
How did Peter feel after his three acts of dishonesty?
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
This world can be a confusing, sometimes dangerous place. The Christian Bible teaches that Jesus Christ is the only way to God, his truth, and the life God created them to enjoy. In this extract from the Book of John, Jesus explains how he has prepared the way for his Disciples.
Our value of Honesty has truth running through it. Truth is important, with it we build strong relationships and a strong community. Without it we sow distrust and, in dealing with the opposite of truth - lies - we build destruction, as various fictional children have found out to their cost! Certainly, lies in stories do not bring happy endings for the Boy Who Cried Wolf or a girl called Matilda...
(who told such dreadful lies)
by Hillaire Belloc
Matilda told such Dreadful Lies,
It made one Gasp and Stretch one’s Eyes;
Her Aunt, who, from her Earliest Youth,
Had kept a Strict Regard for Truth,
Attempted to believe Matilda:
The effort very nearly killed her,
And would have done so, had not she
Discovered this Infirmity.
For once, towards the Close of Day,
Matilda, growing tired of play,
And finding she was left alone,
Went tiptoe to the telephone
And summoned the Immediate Aid
Of London’s Nobel Fire-Brigade.
Within an hour the Gallant Band
Were pouring in on every hand,
From Putney, Hackney Downs and Bow,
With Courage high and Hearts a-glow
They galloped, roaring though the Town,
"Matilda’s House is Burning Down"
Inspired by British Cheers and Loud
Proceeding from the Frenzied Crowd,
They ran their ladders through a score
Of windows on the Ball Room Floor;
And took Peculiar Pains to Souse
The Pictures up and down the House,
Until Matilda’s Aunt succeeded
In showing them they were not needed
And even then she had to pay
To get the Men to go away! . . . . .
It happened that a few Weeks later
Her aunt was off to the Theatre
To see that Interesting Play
The Second Mrs. Tanqueray.
She had refused to take her Niece
To hear this Entertaining Piece:
A Deprivation Just and Wise
To Punish her for Telling Lies.
That Night a Fire did break out-
You should have heard Matilda Shout!
You should have heard her Scream and Bawl,
And throw the window up and call
To People passing in the Street-
(The rapidly increasing Heat
Encouraging her to obtain
Their confidence)-but it was all in vain!
For every time She shouted "Fire!"
They only answered "Little Liar!"
And therefore when her Aunt returned,
Matilda, and the House, were burned.
The Christian Season of Lent
Lent is when Christians remember a time of preparation that Jesus went through.
For 30 years Jesus had lived at home in Nazareth. At the age of 30, he knew that he was about to start his public work. He was about to start teaching people about God and doing many amazing miracles. He knew it would not be easy and that eventually it would lead to his death.
Jesus is Tested in the Wilderness
In preparation for this work, Jesus went off on his own into the desert for 40 days.
For 40 days and nights he didn’t eat or drink anything and during this time he was tempted by the Devil (Satan) to do a number of things that he knew it was wrong to do. Unlike Adam and Eve, Jesus didn’t give in to the temptations and didn’t do anything wrong. He remained honest and true to himself and to God. At the end of 40 days he left the desert and began the work he had come to earth to do. His time in the desert had prepared him for this work.
Lent is the period of time that leads up to Easter; it begins on Ash Wednesday (the day after Shrove Tuesday when traditionally pancakes are cooked). Lent lasts for 40 days (it doesn’t include Sundays) the length of time that Jesus spent in the desert preparing for his work.
For Christians, Easter is the most important time of the year as it is then that they remember the death and resurrection of Jesus. Because Christians want to ‘be prepared’ for the celebration of Easter, they use Lent as a time to think more about God, go to special church services and pray. It is hoped that Lent may focus the minds of Christians on God, and also help them to think of others who are not as fortunate as they are.
As part of Lent, Christians often give up something for 40 days. This is to remind them of the time when Jesus went without food in the desert. Examples are giving up chocolate or biscuits, or not watching television. In recent years there has been a move towards doing something good during Lent instead of giving something up. Examples would be tidying your room; saying something encouraging to someone every day; making your bed; doing homework without complaining! The main thing is that Christians try hard to keep to their Lentern promises - which means they must focus on being honest with themselves!
On the eve of Lent - Shrove Tuesday - Christians prepare for the next 40 days with a number of traditions. Some hold parties and parades for Mardi Gras, others eat pancakes. What do you do?