Introduction

One of the best things about The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon are the games. The kind of games that would be great youth group/small groups games.  “Box of Lies” is such a game.

The players choose a numbered box, look inside and have to decide if they are going to describe the item inside or make something up. The other player then has to discern if they are being told the truth or a lie.

To tell the truth has been a virtue taught since childhood. This virtue is evident in our judicial system, as one “swears to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”

As children, most of us were told the story of  young George Washington who cut down the cherry tree, and could not tell a lie. He confessed his axe wielding sin to his father. Or the wooden puppet Pinocchio who desperately wanted to become a real boy. There was only one problem: Pinocchio was not truthful, as evident by his growing wooden nose.

To tell the truth has been taught as a virtue.

But what about today? How much value do we place on the truth? It is a question worth pondering.

Watch

Reflect

  1. Were you surprised by any of the truth-telling or lies in the video?
  2. Were you surprised when someone was not able to tell what was a lie?
  3. How important is it, to you, to tell the truth?
  4. How important do you think truth-telling is in our current society? Why?
  5. Read Proverbs 12:17-19. What do these verses say about telling the truth?
  6. What is the relationship between telling the truth and justice?

Ponder

The virtue of telling the truth seems to be drowning in our current state of affairs. The Sunday morning shows discuss and debate lies that are being told each week in the public square. It has become such as normal part of society that  the surprise of it seems to be gone.

Where is the collective outrage over lying?

It was just this past summer when there was such a collective outrage that it cost one athlete his job. During the Olympics, the swimmer Ryan Lochte was caught in a lie. The consequences of which were long reaching. (Including a stint on Dancing with the Stars.)

Yet, there seems to be no consequences today. Lies are told, but very little happens as a request of those lies.

What is the value of truth-telling?

The advice given in Proverbs 12 is to the common household. In ancient Israel, the household would have included more than just a father, a mother, and 2.5 children. In the ancient household, there would have been multiple layers of generations. In more wealthy settings, the household would include slaves, day-laborers, and strangers. The strangers were often foreigners seeking refuge from a long journey, or individuals from a neighboring village or tribe.

When the writer of Proverbs says to tell the truth to the whole household, there is the implication to tell the truth to everyone. Not only that, there is a direct correlation between righteousness and truth-telling.

Those who posses a lying tongue or lying lips, according to Proverbs, are the opposite of righteousness. One stands in stark contrast to the other.

There is an expectation to tell the truth within the household and beyond.

Pray

Lord, God, may your Holy Spirit guide us each day to be truth tellers, even in those moments when it is so much easier to tell a lie. Open our eyes to see that little lies aren’t better than big lies. A lie is a lie, and the truth is the truth. Above all, may the words of our mouths be acceptable to you. Amen.