Johny Johny Yes Papa
Main Point: Honesty is an important quality, but whether or not others believe and trust your word will reveal your true character.
The Discussion Starter: Johny Johny Yes Papa is a nursery rhyme that first made an appearance on YouTube in a 2007 Indian commercial. Two years later, it became a YouTube nursery rhyme video before taking on a life of its own. Several different versions have received over a billion views, and as of January 2019 the version used in this discussion is the 57thmost popular YouTube video of all time.
The song became an internet meme in late 2018, adding to its popularity. Adults and teens have appreciated the corny and somewhat creepy elements of the videos while kids enjoy the song and the awkward interaction between Johny and his father. Whatever you may think of the video, its popularity cannot be denied.
The Video Clip: This clip is available online at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=85&v=F4tHL8reNCs
Transitional Statement: The key plot point in this video is that Johny is clearly lying to his father yet his father seems to believe his sons’ denials, or at least be fooled by his deception. The question to ask in response to this video is do people believe and trust your words when you speak? The answer to this question can demonstrate a person’s character and the transformation happening in their heart as God works in them.
Divide into Small Groups: Let’s go ahead and split up into our discussion groups, and then afterward we’ll come back together for a final word.
CLICK HERE for a quick training article on how to maximize your small groups using our small group format – a great resource to equip your small group leaders.
- AROUND THE CIRCLE: Had you seen this video? Is there another version that you thought is funny?
- ASK A FEW: When you were a kid, what is the snack that your parents would try to keep you from taking too often?
- ASK A FEW: Do you think Johny’s dad knows that he took the first sugar cube? Do you think he believes his denial? Explain why you think the way you do.
- ASK A FEW: What do you think of Johny’s response to his dad? Can anyone share a situation from their life where they’ve done the same thing?
- ASK A FEW: In your house growing up, was lying a normal thing or was it rare? Was there one parent who was more skeptical of you than the other?
- ASK A FEW: Who is someone that you know that you would say you always believe what they say when they say it. Why do you think that you view them that way?
- ASK A FEW: Fast forward ten years. How do you think Johny’s deception will impact his relationship with his dad?
Read the following passage:
All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one
- ASK A FEW: Read Matthew 5:33-37. What is Jesus talking about in this passage?
- ASK A FEW: Jesus talks about not swearing an oath by heaven, God’s throne, or earth. What are some things we tend to swear by when we want someone to believe us? Why do you think Jesus warns us against that?
- ASK A FEW: Why do you think Jesus said anything beyond your yes or no comes from the evil one?
- ASK A FEW: Do you think it’s common for people to follow through on the things they say they will do? Why or why not?
- ASK A FEW: Are you breaking your word when you say to someone “let’s hang out sometime” and never follow up? What are some other things we say to people that we never follow up on?
- ASK A FEW: Besides the obvious lying, what are some other ways we break our word to others?
During this time, we talked about the silly Johny Johny Yes Papa video and had some discussion about the value of our word. We looked at Jesus’ words in Matthew 5 and talked about different ways we devalue our word to others. If we have to say “I swear” then we have just devalued our yes – and likely have put ourselves in a situation where others already doubt our words.
There are so many good questions to ask about the true value of our words. If you tell someone you’ll call them, do they expect you to call them? If you tell someone that you will do or have done something, do they believe you? Do people ask you to qualify your words with some sort or oath or promise? These things will show you that a place to grow in your life is the value of your word.
It’s not just a matter of trying harder or doing better, we need heart transformation. In Matthew 12:34, Jesus says; for the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. This seems to reveal that our words reflect our hearts. If our mouth speaks half-truths and spins deceptive tales then our problem reflects the condition or our heart and reveals our true character.
Let’s be people who are drawing near to God and asking Him to change our hearts. Let’s enlist those closest to us to hold us accountable in our words. One practice to consider is to go back to people if you have lied, misled, or failed to follow up on your word – and admit your fault. Doing this would keep you accountable and would cause you to become more aware of doing that in the future.
While this is a silly video, it has a powerful message. Let’s be people who can say “no papa!” and be believed, because we are people who have experienced an encounter with the living God that has changed our hearts forever.
Close in prayer together.
Rob Chagdes is one of the pastors at Prairie Lakes Church in northern Iowa. In the years since he met Jesus as a sixteen year old, Rob has spent his life working to raise up the next generation to love God and invite others into His unending story. He spends most of his free time with his wife Leslie, their three amazing daughters, and their energetic dog Jedi. You can reach Rob at firstname.lastname@example.org .