“I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth” – a mantra recited dozens of times a week in TV shows and movies. It’s so familiar that its significance can be overlooked. But, when sworn in a court or other official proceeding, it makes everything said afterward either the truth or perjury. Perjury, the crime of lying under oath, is a serious offense because it can derail the basic goal of the justice system-discovering the truth. Even the famous and the powerful have faced the consequences of perjury.
Dishonestly isn’t a new problem facing our culture. It’s been going on for a long, long time. If you’ve had the opportunity to watch the recent episode from the NBC Mini-series ‘A.D.’ you would have seen the fall of Ananias and his wife Sapphira. If you’re not familiar with the story, here’s the short version:
Ananias and Sapphria were members of the early church. They sold some real estate and brought the money to the apostles to be used to support the community of believers. They claimed that the amount was all the money from the sale, when in fact, they held some back. No one asked them to give it all. But they proclaimed to do so – this was their mistake. When Peter confronted each of them separately, it was clear they were still trying to cover up the truth. But their dishonesty wasn’t hidden from God, and Ananias and Sapphira were struck dead.
The fact that the story of Ananias and Sapphira is included in the Bible shows us that God values brutal honesty. The story is not a pretty picture. It shows flaws in the early church, and flaws still exist in the church today. It also shows what God thinks of hypocrisy and lies. At the same time, there were tons of other sins that God didn’t punish with death. We can be encouraged that God would rather have our humble honesty, even if it’s not pretty. As we lay our weaknesses, before God, we find forgiveness through Jesus and can allow the Holy Spirit to change us from within. As Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 12:9 God’s power is made perfect in our weakness, and His grace is enough to take care of us. ~ Excerpts taken from A.D. Study and Guidebook.
“Dear Lord and Heavenly Father, help us to be honest and full of integrity at all times and in all parts of our lives; in our job, in our home, and in our relationship with You. It’s in Jesus name I pray, Amen.”