How heavy is your rucksack?

John 8 31-36

The truth will set you free.

I wonder if you have ever told a lie, that lie grows you have to tell more lies to cover the first lie that
Rucksacks filled with lies
you told. Soon you can’t remember what the truth is anymore. It takes up all your time and energy, it makes you feel stressful. It makes you nervous, anxious. You worry who will find out. You start to feel guilty.

That guilt interferes with your sleep, so you are grumpy. You snap at your parents, your friends. Your fall out with your friends, they don’t want to talk to you. You can’t concentrate at school you fall behind in your work. You feel tired, not able to eat.

If you think of these lies – as bricks.

And a rucksack as your body.

As you tell a lie you pick up a brick. As it grows you pick up more bricks.

Days go by and you pick up bricks that represent guilt.

You pick up bricks that represent being grumpy.

The rucksack become heavier and heavier. You can’t put it down. You are scared someone will find all your bricks so you keep it close, you take it everywhere you go. No matter where you go or what you are doing.

I wonder how easy it would be to play football carrying that very heavy rucksack or trying to dance.

Carrying all those bricks is tiring. It takes over your life.

Eventually all you want to do it find a way to let them all go. You just can’t carry them anymore.

There is no choice anymore – you have to tell the truth.

You have to say sorry, not just about the first lie, but all the lies after.

So, you begin to take the bricks out one by one. By telling the truth. You have to apologise to your friends, your family.

You have to catch up at school.

Was that first lie really worth it??

No matter how bad the lie, it is much better to tell the truth no matter what the consequences as the alternative is so much worse.

Do you really want to lose friends?

Do you really want to fall behind at school?

Do you really want to feel horrible inside?

Do you want to feel scared?

Do you want to feel tired?

Was that first lie really worth it?

Jesus tells us that if you tell the truth it will set you free.

In this passage Jesus tells us ‘I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it for ever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.’ NIV bible

A lie is a sin. It takes over our life and we become a slave to our lie.

The son is Jesus, he offers us freedom from our sin. He offers us a chance to lay our rucksacks down when we have told the truth. He offers us forgiveness for the lies we have told. Telling the truth will set us free, free from the worry, free from being scared, free from our anxiety. Free from the weight of our rucksack.

Free to become the person God wants us to be… Free to be happy once again.

This is a visual talk I have used it several times with different groups of children. You can use at school, or a family service or at Sunday school. All you need is a rucksack and lots of heavy bricks. Children will want to take part to carry the rucksack. I am quite sure they will be able to tell you lots of reasons why they might tell a lie.

You could use other children as the people they have upset with their lies and the person with the rucksack could go around and say sorry to them. As they are forgiven they take out a brick. Until they reach the cross which represents Jesus. This is where they take out the final brick and lay their rucksack down.

If you would like a craft for them to take home: I have created a paper rucksack with them. With bricks they can put into it and take out.

This is a pattern for a safari rucksack but it can be modified for our theme.

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About Michelle Bailey

Reverend Michelle Bailey is the Rural Officer for the Bishop of Brecon and Swansea  She previously worked in Children's Ministry and was ordained in the Church of England. Her blog includes ideas on presenting concepts of faith to young children to the age of eleven and furthering faith development in an educational context. Michelle currently lives in Wales and is also developing a rural ministry blog.
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