Speaking to the Soul – June 11

Telling the truth

But there was a certain man named Ananias who, with his wife, Sapphira, sold some property. He brought part of the money to the apostles, claiming it was the full amount. With his wife’s consent, he kept the rest. Acts 5: 1-2

This is a chilling story. Ananias and Sapphira were not obliged to give all the money from their property sale to the apostles, but they lied and said they had done so. They conspired together to trick the apostles and the result was that, when confronted with their lies, they both dropped dead (vv4–10). Given that everything seemed to have been going so well for the infant Church this must have been a shattering moment. No wonder Dr Luke concluded the story by saying that great fear gripped the Church and everyone else who heard what had happened.

Lying is always serious. Facing up to what we have done may be painful but massaging the truth for our convenience is always destructive. It undermines trust and a relationship that is built on lies cannot possibly last long. Above all, we need to be truthful in our relationship with God. Nothing could be more foolish than lying to him, because he already knows the whole truth about us.

Jesus said that he himself was the truth (John 14:6) and that the truth would set us free (John 8:32). We need to face up to the fact that we are sinners and that we often let him down. I love the bluntness of John’s letters. He didn’t have time to waste and so simply states that anyone who says that they have no sin is fooling themselves and “not living in the truth” (1 John 1:8). They are liars! But he then goes on to share the wonderful news that if we own up to our sins, God is faithful and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all wickedness (v9).

This chilling account of Ananias’ and Sapphira’s deaths doesn’t need to worry us if we stick to the truth. But if we don’t, then their story is a timely warning.

Have you ever struggled to tell the truth?

Lord God our Father, I own up to the fact that I have sinned. Thank you that you are willing to set me free from my sins. Amen