Don Merritt is in Acts. “The Curious Affair of Ananias and Sapphira”. Today a tale of intrigue, deception and consequences. The consequence being the sudden death of the two conspirators. The implication and lesson(?) being: “Don’t mess with God.”
There was a time I would have applauded. Don’t mess with God is a powerful theme in the life of a Christian. Along with sin, sacrifice, saving and self-discipline. This morning I applaud for a different reason. Because the following two “divisive” obligations of Christian belief no longer apply to my connection to these verses.
a) Is it historically accurate?
b) How can a loving God cause the death of two of his “creations” over “money”?
On the first I don’t know. Nor do I need it to know. On the second I don’t see it that way. I see something that works for me today.
I get caught up in something. I commit to that something publicly. I give my all to that publicly. Except I hold back a comfort zone … a safety net … I am not being dishonest (I tell myself) – merely prudent. And anyway (I tell myself) I am accepted, I belong, I am somebody. And anyway (I tell myself) – no one needs to know, I give them more than is expected, more than is required.
I have done that a lot. I have the capacity to do that still. When I accept a plaudit. When someone holds me up as a good example of a (whatever they see me being a good example of). When I say the words of membership because that is expected. When I smile to your face and speak against you behind closed doors. Whenever I am one thing publicly and something else privately.
Because when my private-public mismatch becomes my public humiliation … I die a little or a lot inside. I am distanced from those I hold dear. I am an outcast from my own living.
These verses speak to me with clarity right now 2000+ years after they were written.
I see no value in distancing myself from the love within these verses simply because I prefer to debate evidence and historical accuracy. If that means less need to be a labelled bona-fide Christian in the eyes of the membership – so be it. I have found the answer to a question rarely asked:
“Which is more important: my standing amongst other Christians, or my personal and living relationship with the being I call GSHJ?”
My answer is the latter. And I find more and more love in the bible when I read it this way.
What about you?