Teaching young kids about telling the truth is really, really important. Our children’s whole lives will be much more fulfilling if they can distinguish truth from a lie. They won’t have to live in a hiding, pretending sort of way if they can face up to truths, even hard ones. Learning to tell the truth is kind of like babies learning to comfort themselves; the skill can improve our whole being.
In the Bible we read this verse in John 8:32: You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. The truth Jesus is speaking about here is God’s truth, not just our own. This verse goes beyond telling the truth to living God’s truth.
What does it mean to live God’s truth? Disciples have been asking that question since Bible times. The answer, in a nutshell, is that the core of God’s truth, the greatest commandments are these:
- Love God
- Love your neighbor
Following both of these love commandments helps keep our lives honest.
-By loving God, we honestly remember that there’s someone bigger than us. Someone we are called to worship and obey, rather than just worshiping and obeying ourselves or our society.
-By loving our neighbors, we live out God’s vision that there will be enough for everyone. We honestly share a part of who we are in relationship. We acknowledge the fact that we need others and long for peaceful communities.
If these two ways to live in God’s truth sound rather basic—good! That way we can remember the core directions of our lives and teach our children: Love God, Love your neighbor.
When we model these truths for your children, day after day, we help shape their lives with a foundation of seeking God’s truth that sets us free. Later on, as we watch our children grow into adults, we see them making life choices that show love for God and neighbor. It’s amazing!
Here’s a simple motion prayer to share with your kids:
God lives in my heart (hands over heart)
God lives in yours (hands extended)
MARY LINDBERG is an ELCA pastor who lives in Seattle, Washington. She has written curriculum for Augsburg Fortress for many years, including Spark, Holy Moly, and Whirl. At one time Mary served as
a children's pastor; now she works as a chaplain for older adults. Mary and her husband have two grown daughters.