To my four year old, our short road trip seemed to be taking forever. He was anxious and ready to get out of the car. Trying to make the time pass a little more quickly, I suggested that we tell stories. I began the story. Big brother continued our creative tale and then it was little brother’s turn to finish. Without hesitation, he exclaimed, “And…they died!” It was obvious that our story telling was not improving his mood but we laughed and asked him to tell us another story. He did and you’ll never guess how it ended. OK, you probably will – “And….they died.”
I was reminded of this funny (but a bit disturbing) story telling as I watched a Bible video with my church kids. The video told the story of Ananias and Sapphira from Acts chapter 5. Remember those two? This husband and wife sold some land then gave a portion of their earnings to the church. What a great thing to do! But instead of telling the truth about their earnings, they lied to Peter telling him that they were giving all that they made from the sale and not just a portion. Guess what the result of their sin, lying to God, was. Yep, you guessed it – “And….they died!” They dropped dead on the spot.
You should have seen the faces of my kids as they watched Ananias drop dead after telling a lie. Their little jaws fell to the floor. Then after Sapphira came on the scene, told the same lie and died, their jaws hit the floor again. It was amazing to see the wheels churning in their minds and to hear all the questions that arose from this story of sin and consequences. Could I really die if I tell a lie? What if no one knows I lied? What an awesome opportunity it was to share just how serious God takes sin and to emphasize that even when we think we’ve gotten away with something, God knows because God looks at our hearts.
It’s all about our character. How are you seen by others? Who are you truly – on the inside? Are you that “good” person who’s just like everyone else? Everyone lies a little; everyone cheats, right? Are you that person who no one trusts, someone who is constantly deceptive and only looks out for yourself? Or are you that person who seeks to live out your life to honor and glorify God, someone who displays the fruit of the spirit every day and in every situation? You see, as Christians, our character matters because our character should be a reflection of God’s character.
“Look!” you say, “I understand this whole godly character thing but I’m not going to die if I tell a lie.” Maybe not. God constantly offers mercy and forgiveness. But what about your testimony to others? What about the trust that others have in you? The more you willingly sin, the less of an impact your testimony will have, the less the world will trust you and the less the world will trust in the God you represent. What could be worse than the death of a Christian’s testimony and character?
Not long after our Bible lesson, a mom came to pick up her little ones. Her sweet daughter immediately fessed up to a lie she had told that morning. It was a lie her mom never would have discovered but she knew she had to confess and ask forgiveness. That, my friends, is godly character. What about you? Do you need to “fess up” to God and start working on your character? Or are you satisfied to know that the end of your story, the story of your testimony and character, just might be “and.…they died”?