But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, and with his wife’s knowledge he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but to God.” Acts 5:1-4
Lying. There are out-right lies, lies of omission, white lies, etc. As a fallen human, I tend to give each of these types of lies a degree as to what is the worst and what is considered acceptable. But, God doesn’t judge it the same way…sin is sin.
Ananias and Sapphira lied about the amount of money that they received from selling a piece of their land. As Peter explained, it was their property and their money to handle; the problem wasn’t that they kept some of the proceeds for themselves. The problem was that they lied about how much they received for the property and that they held a portion back. They were caught in their lie, and reaped the consequences in death.
Esther had not made known her kindred or her people, as Mordecai had commanded her, for Esther obeyed Mordecai just as when she was brought up by him. Esther 2:20
Esther lied too. It was a lie of omission, a failure to divulge her heritage to the king of Persia or his servants. Mordecai was afraid that she would be rejected and killed because she was a Jew, and advised her to keep the truth a secret. When the details of her heritage came to light, her life was in peril, but God saved her and used her, in spite of the lie, to save the people of Israel.
Then Haman said to King Ahasuerus, “There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom. Their laws are different from those of every other people, and they do not keep the king’s laws, so that it is not to the king’s profit to tolerate them. If it please the king, let it be decreed that they be destroyed, and I will pay 10,000 talents of silver into the hands of those who have charge of the king’s business, that they may put it into the king’s treasuries.” Esther 3:8-9
Haman also lied. His lie was malicious and devious, his intention revenge, to wipe God’s people off the face of the planet. Only revealing partial truth about the Jewish people and their laws, he convinced the king to give him full power in delivering judgment…total annihilation. In the end though, he also paid the penalties for his actions, hanged with the noose intended for his ‘enemy’.
I think back throughout my history and remember times that I’ve lied. When I’ve told someone how great they look, when I really hated their new outfit. There have been more than a few occasions when I’ve failed to tell someone the whole truth and nothing but the truth in the hope to avoid a conflict or rejection. And, of course, there are countless times when, as a child, I lied to my parents, to attempt to escape punishment. Sometimes it seemed I got away with it, but more often than not, I got found out and had to deal with the fall-out and take my punishment.
When I became a believer, it became important to me to always tell the truth, in love, to the best of my ability. God always knew the truth anyway, so staying honest before Jesus has been the easiest part. I am grateful that God can handle my failures, He can handle the truth.
Striving to tell the truth has meant a shift in my thinking, and it has meant that there have been instances when I have told the truth, it has made people unhappy and upset with me. Sometimes it seems easier to lie, but the reality is that telling the truth is better in the long run; Truth keeps me right with God and there is a whole lot less that I have to remember.
Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics, always said: If someone asks you how your day has been, tell the truth (in a positive way). If your day has been great, tell them your day has been ‘incredible’; if it has been horrible, say your day has been ‘unbelievable.’
Do I get it right every time? No. There are times when I slip into white lies or purposely leave off some information when telling a story. I sometimes tell my kids that there is no electricity, so I can turn the TV off to get them out the door faster or ask them if they hear Hook’s crocodile when they won’t stay in their beds.
When I realize I slipped up, I go to God, tell Him the truth, and I am forgiven. I can start fresh, in that moment, telling the truth.
Yesappa, Thank You for Your Truth. Thank You for giving me strength to be honest, even when it is difficult, and for giving me revelation about how to tell the truth in love. Thank You for forgiving me when I make mistakes and fall into old habits. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Blessings – Julie (writing from the U.S.A.)
Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.