According to Barna Research, only ⅓ of teens believes lying is wrong. While this includes all teens – not just those who consider themselves Christians – it illustrates an erosion of what would be considered basic moral principles in our society.
Years ago, Bible class teachers might have addressed basic issues like lying in their classes. It was often more from the perspective of reinforcing rather than introducing one of God’s commands. They could assume moral principles were strived for by almost everyone in our society.
With the advent of situational ethics, moral standards have almost been erased. Schools and even parents often teach that moral choices are decided by each individual and should not be imposed by others – including God (assuming they even believe in God).
This means your students may not have had anyone tell them it was wrong to lie. They don’t know God hates lies. They don’t know the negative earthly consequences that can result from lying. They may honestly believe lying is an intelligent, creative way to more easily achieve their goals.
Which means as you prepare your Bible lessons, you can’t assume anything is “common knowledge”. You will need to find ways to cover the basics without appearing condescending. Finding ways to help them understand the reasons why God calls His people to certain attitudes and behaviors will help them be more open to obeying God.
Be aware though, many have been exposed to Bible teachers and ministers who have focused so much on convincing them God’s grace exists, they have removed the need for repentance. The message of “God loves you, no matter what” is interpreted by many young people as “God doesn’t care if I sin, He loves me anyway. I can continue enjoying my sinful behaviors because God doesn’t care, as long as I am happy.”
While many of your students may be growing up in homes where they are taught what God wants from them, they will hear plenty of competing messages from the rest of the world. They need as many discussions as possible that will help protect them from the situational ethics practiced by most of those around them.