Whoever came up with color-coding lies? Or even categorizing them? There are no white lies! A lie is a lie!
I have been very much aware of the consequences of lying these last few days, working on a lesson about a “deadly” lie.
Ananias and Sapphira belonged to the first church in Jerusalem. It was an extraordinary church in which the believers were “one in heart and mind.” They didn’t claim their possessions as their own, but they shared everything! “There were no needy persons among them.” Those who owned lands or houses would sell them and bring the money from the sales to the apostles, and then it was distributed to anyone who needed it.
It was a great church but not exempt of temptation. Ananias and Sapphira also sold a piece of property. That is when temptation set in. Why should they give away all the money? With his wife’s full knowledge, Ananias decided to keep part of the money for himself. There was nothing wrong with that. It was his money and he could do what he wanted with it.
And then he lied! Ananias figured he could cheat Peter a bit. No big deal. He kept some of the money and brought the rest to the apostles.
A lie is a lie! Big or small, white or black! And lying is sin!
“Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.” (emphasis mine)
I’m sure God at that moment was setting a precedent. He wanted to show this thriving church in Jerusalem what he thinks of lying. Later, he would have the apostle John write about those who will not enter the city of heaven, the New Jerusalem.
Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. (Rev 21:27, NIV)
But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. (NKJV)
Ananias was judged immediately. At the words of Peter he fell down and died. He had not lied to Peter, but to God!
About three hours later Sapphira came looking for Ananias, I’m sure of that. She was probably wondering why her husband didn’t come home.
Peter asked her about the price of the property they had sold. “Is this what you and Ananias got for the land?”
“Yes,” she said, “that is the price.”
She had agreed with her husband to tell a lie. It was a serious lie!
Peter said to her,
“How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord?
The men who buried her husband would now bury her.
Lying is a deadly poison. My daughter and her husband work hard on teaching the children not to lie. Especially one of the girls has a hard time with this. The problem with lying is that if you keep it up, when you tell the truth no one will believe you!
I wrote this lesson on lying as deadly poison more than 30 years ago when I was working with children in an environment where lying was a common as the daily bread. People didn’t think anything about saying a lie. So, what? That was the attitude. But, a lie is a lie. And lying is sin!
The sad story for Ananias and Sapphira was that they had no time to set things straight, no time to repent.
We only have this moment. Only the present is ours, as a gift. We had no say in coming to this world, but we have a say in deciding where to go when we leave. Jesus himself is the way to heaven.
Be prepared for your moment of departure. If you have lies or other things on your conscience, ask Jesus for forgiveness. White lies? There are no white lies.
A lie is a lie! And lying is sin!
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth
is not in us. If we confess our sins, [Jesus] is faithful
and just and will forgive us our sins
and purify us from all unrighteousness. –1 John 1:8,9
Read the story in Acts 5:1-11.