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Deceit is Deadly… to true community

July 15, 2015

As compelling as true community can be, deception within the community will be deadly.

Acts 5 tells the story of a married couple, Ananias & Sapphira, selling a field they owned, and donating some of the money from the sale to the community though they left the very clear impression they gave the full amount of the sale. Immediately, the apostle Peter confronts Ananias and without a chance to respond, he drops dead. About three hours later, Sapphira walks in and is also confronted and again, without warning drops dead.

The issue is very clearly they lied. Ananias & Sapphira deceived people in the community to believe one thing when in fact, something else was the truth. And deception is deadly to true community.

In our 21st century mindset, we would like to see a bit of negotiation, discussion about Ananias & Sapphira’s decision to keep some of the money back for themselves. There may have been very good, legitimate reasons. We could discuss those and evaluate whether they were appropriate, godly reasons or selfish, prideful reasons. Then we would consider those issues, hope the person would come to a realization of their wrongdoing and apologize.

However, there’s none of that. God strikes Ananias & Sapphira dead because He wants the believers to know that as wonderful and welcoming and attractive as Christian community can be, there can be no true community without complete truth and honesty. A lie, covering up the truth, or deceiving one another, breaks community.

This post is part 2 of a three-part series. See Part 1. See Part 3.

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