Monday, 12 January 2009

Stories I wish weren't in the Bible...

Ananias & Sapphira – killed for telling a lie

Ok this story really reaps havoc with my brain; more uncomfortable than suffering haemorrhoids on a mountain bike.

In chapter 4 of Acts we’ve had a fantastic picture painted of the radical, counter-cultural revolution that is the early church. New believers are sharing common ideals, testifying to Christ’s resurrection in a powerful way & making costly financial sacrifices to meet the needs of the poor. One guy Joseph is hailed as such a fine example that he earns the nickname “Son of Encouragement” for the rest of the book.

Suddenly the romance & righteousness of the early church is given an immediate kick out the window as God strikes down dead Ananias & Sapphira for telling some lies. Seemingly motivated by their ego rather than the needs of the poor, they wanted the credit & prestige of sacrificial generosity without the inconvenience.

I don’t like this story because I like to practice “impression management” (I’m so drawn to the concept that I even learned the fancy term to describe it). I like people thinking I’m good, kind, generous, admirable, bla bla bla, because it massages my self-esteem & covers a variety of public errors.

Through this story God screams “I hate hypocrisy” and exposes any defence of “the little white lie.” Like the early church its’ telling sometimes grips me with fear, but also deepens my understanding of just how gracious & patient my Holy Heavenly Father is.

I guess I should remember this the next time I’m describing the goal I scored in football or my contribution to the ministry team.

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