Jared and I have been teaching the 12 & 13 year old Sunday School class at church for the past several months - almost a year. It is so much fun to be a part of the lives of these kids, and to help them learn how to make good choices that will keep them safe and happy in their future. Today's lesson revolved around the idea of agency, or our freedom to choose what we'll do with our lives.
After talking about why we have the freedom to choose, and what we're actually choosing, we are left then with actual choices. But often it can seem difficult to decide WHICH choice is right or wrong. I presented these two papers to the class by setting them side-by-side on the floor:
The most important part is that one of these papers is the truth, and one is a lie. On the fronts they look identical, which is the key thing. On the surface it's impossible to tell which choice is right and which is wrong.
Search Diligently In The Light of Christ
So we read this, from the Book of Mormon, Moroni 7: 15-19:
15 For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night.
16 For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.
17 But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him.
18 And now, my brethren, seeing that ye know the light by which ye may judge, which light is the light of Christ, see that ye do not judge wrongfully; for with that same judgment which ye judge ye shall also be judged.
19 Wherefore, I beseech of you, brethren, that ye should search diligently in the light of Christ that ye may know good from evil; and if ye will lay hold upon every good thing, and condemn it not, ye certainly will be a child of Christ.
We talked about what it means to search "in the light of Christ" - and I likened this to using a candle to be able to see in the darkness.
I turned out the light in the classroom and pulled out my flashlight. I picked up each of the papers (which I had taped a printed page on the back of), and held the flashlight through the back of it, like so:
At that point it was really easy to read the messages and decide which was the truth and which was a lie.
The message here is that when we use Jesus as our example, or our "light" - when we ask whether something invites us to do good, or love God, then just like shining that flashlight through the paper, we can easily distinguish between right and wrong.
I gave the kids a printed version of each page to take home and tape to the back of two identical papers and to teach it to their families.
If you'd like to use this as an object lesson, here is a PDF of the two sheets I created to tape to the back of the patterned papers (which, as you can see above, have stripes on the reverse side! Cute!)
NOTE: Of course if you are not LDS (Mormon, Latter-day Saint), this lesson works equally well with verses from the New Testament - like when Satan is tempting Jesus after His 40 days of fasting (Matthew 4) for the "Lie" side, versus pretty much any of Jesus' teachings for the "Truth" side.