Remember the classic scene and dialogue in the movie “A Few Good Men?”
Tom Cruise: “I want the truth!”
Jack Nicolson: “You can’t handle the truth!”
Sadly, often times, we can’t handle receiving the truth or giving the truth.
So we avoid it. We end up dropping hints, manipulating, guilting, and stone-walling people. Anything to avoid telling the truth.
The end result is that we forsake open, honest relationships and replace it with “pseudo-community.” It’s simply not REAL.
Marriages, family relationships, friendships and churches are often based upon an inability to “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15).
Truth without Love is brutality. Love without Truth is hypocrisy.
It’s so important to have both truth AND love. Why?
Because we’re all members of the same body, and what gets propagated by one member WILL affect others. It’s the law of community. That’s what we discover in Acts 5 with Ananias & Sapphira. They willfully chose to sell some land. They could have kept the proceeds of the sale for themselves. No harm, no foul. But they opted to give the earnings to the disciples to be shared with the whole community of faith. Again, no harm, no foul.
Until…they lied about the amount. They told Peter “that’s all of it” when it actually was only the partial amount of the proceeds.
In a nutshell: They both fudged the truth. As a result, Ananias fell over dead, and later so did Sapphira.
One thing for us to know is that Ananias & Sapphira were “good, church folk.” Did you know that a recent Gallup Polls tells us that the ethical conduct of Christians varies only slightly from non-Christians?
That means Christians are falsifying income tax returns, plagiarizing, ignoring construction specs, not obtaining a permit, exaggerating about a product, and telling people what they want to hear.
Years ago, Fred Hollomon, the Chaplain of the Kansas Senate, prayed this prayer:
Omniscient Father: Help us to know who is telling the truth. One side tells us one thing, and the other just the opposite. And if neither side is telling the truth, we would like to know that too. And if each side is telling half the truth, give us the wisdom to put the right halves together. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
For followers of Jesus this ought not be the case. The truth ought to be in us and flowing out of us. Anything less is simply not real.