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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

When Power Creates Fear

“Tell me,” Peter asked her, “did you sell the field for this price?” “Yes,” she said, “for that price." Acts 5:9

Father God, this story breaks my heart! The more I read it, the darker it becomes, and the less it fits into the loveliness of your grace.

Did you strike Ananias and Sapphira dead because they “lied to the Holy Spirit?” Or, is that how the Apostles interpreted the event? Perhaps the couple's hearts stopped beating out of fear because they had been caught in a lie. This makes some sense because the Apostles had become so powerful in the sight of the people.

It seems to me that Peter laid a trap to catch Sapphira in a lie. Three hours had past after Ananias had dropped dead before the Apostles talked to Sapphira. They even buried Ananias before his wife knew he had died! That seems kind of cold. Why didn’t they call Sapphira in when Ananias first dropped died? Why didn’t they give her a chance to confess?

Lord, I can’t find your grace in this story!

After Sapphira dropped dead, “Then great fear came on the whole church and on all who heard these things.” Acts 5:11

This story creates a sense of fear in my own heart over power issues. I don’t know what lesson to get from this story. The traditional lesson about not lying to the Holy Spirit doesn’t fit for me right now.

The only lesson I can come close to receiving from this scripture at this moment is to be weary of human power and authority that causes fear. I don’t want any power vested upon me, nor do I want any human being to have that kind of power over me.

Lord, help me to understand the difficult stories that are placed in scripture. When I come to incorrect conclusions, gently bring me back to your truth.

Let your grace spill forth throughout your creation and do not let human judgment, condemnation, and hate have a foothold along side your truth.

4 comments:

laurel said...

i am reading Acts, and this story had me reacting in a similar way. i have not come to an understanding of it. you have shown me a way to take my confusion to the Lord in a coherent way:
"Lord, help me to understand the difficult stories that are placed in scripture. When I come to incorrect conclusions, gently bring me back to your truth."
Amen and amen!

Laure said...

Holy Spirit,

Take from our Lord Jesus and give us understanding.

Lord Jesus,

You have told us that You and the Father are one and that as You are, so are we one in You ... with You. In this oneness that we share, may we know. For Your glory may we know and understand. Amen

sojourner said...

Hi Laurel! welcome to the conversations here :0)

laurel said...

thank you :)
I'm grateful God led me here, to be among you. I take encouragement and comfort from the fellowship, I really do!