The deceit in our heart

I am writing/praying my way through Acts right now and come to Acts 5 where Ananias and Sapphira lie about the amount they are giving in the offering and God strikes them dead.

We have so many questions about why God struck them dead. This thought occurs to me this time around in my reading: Too often we’re bothered by God’s actions and not nearly as bothered by the actions of Ananias and Sapphira. God’s dealing with us bothers us much more than what we did in getting that response from God.

Words that sound incredibly strange from Bonhoeffer

These words may have truth, but in our day they seem to be incredibly strange:

When another Christian falls into obvious sin, an admonition is imperative, because God’s Word demands it. The practice of discipline in the community of faith begins with friends who are close to one another. Words of admonition and reproach must be risked when a lapse from God’s Word in doctrine or life endangers a community that lives together, and with it the whole community of faith. Nothing can be more cruel than that leniency which abandons others to their sin. Nothing can be more compassionate than that severe reprimand which calls another Christian in one’s community back from the path of sin. When we allow nothing but God’s Word to stand between us, judging and helping, it is a service of mercy, an ultimate offer of genuine community. Then it is not we who are judging; God alone judges, and God’s judgment is helpful and healing.

“Well… what is sin?”

“Well… who are YOU to judge?”

The way to wholeness and healing is to recognize there is a sickness. We need that calling out in our lives once again.

Sin won’t go away

We want to rename it, ignore it, ridicule the thought of “sin,” but the fact of it just won’t go away.

We do our best to ignore it, though. Bill Arnold in his commentary on 1-2 Samuel in the NIV Application Commentary noted this:

Once “sin” is no longer in the church’s vocabulary, there is no longer a need for words such as “forgiveness” or “grace.” Sin really has taken up residence in our hearts and found expressions in less offensive ways. (p. 547)