Two Persons Who Did Not Tell the Truth
SUPPOSE a girl promises her mother, “Yes, I will come home right after school.” But then other children ask her to stay and play with them. Would it be all right to stay—just for a little while?—
Or perhaps a boy promises his father, “No, I won’t throw the ball in the house anymore.” Would it be all right to do it just a few more times when his father is not looking?—
The Great Teacher showed the right thing to do. He said: ‘Just let your word Yes mean Yes, and your No, No; for anything else is from the wicked one.’—Matthew 5:37.
What did Jesus mean by that?— He meant that we should always keep our promises; we should always tell the truth.
There is a story that shows how important it is to tell the truth. It is about two persons who said that they were disciples of Jesus.
A short time after the death of Jesus, many people became his disciples. Some of these people had come to Jerusalem from faraway places. Here for the first time they learned about Jesus. They wanted to know more. As a result they stayed in Jerusalem longer than they had expected. Some of them ran out of money and needed help so that they could buy food.
The disciples in Jerusalem wanted to help them out. So, many of these disciples sold things that they owned and they brought the money to Jesus’ apostles. Then the apostles gave the money to the ones who needed it.
A disciple named Ananias and his wife Sapphira sold a field that they owned. No one told them that they had to sell it. They decided that for themselves. But what they did was not because they loved the new disciples. Really, they wanted to make people think they were better than they really were. So they decided to make it look as if they were giving all of this money to help others. But really they were going to give only a part of it and keep the rest. What do you think of that?—
Well, Ananias came to see the apostles of Jesus first. He gave the money to them. But Ananias was not giving all the money. God knew this. So he let the apostle Peter know that Ananias was not being truthful. At that Peter said:
‘Ananias, why have you let Satan cause you to do this? The field was yours. You didn’t have to sell it. And even after you sold the field, it was up to you to decide what you would do with the money. But why did you pretend to give all the money when you were giving only part of it? By this you were lying, not just to us, but to God.’
It was that serious. Ananias was lying! He did not do what he said he was going to do. He and his wife only pretended to do it.
The Bible tells us what happened next. It says: ‘On hearing Peter’s words, Ananias fell down and died.’ God struck Ananias dead! His body was carried outside and buried.
About three hours later Sapphira his wife came in. She did not know what had happened to her husband. So Peter asked her: ‘Did you two sell the field for the amount of money that you gave us?’
Sapphira answered: ‘Yes, we sold the field for just that amount.’
But that was a lie! They had kept some of the money for themselves. So God struck Sapphira dead too.—Acts 5:1-11.
Do you think there is something that we should learn from what happened to Ananias and Sapphira?— Yes. It teaches us that God does not like liars. He wants us always to tell the truth.
Many people say that it is not bad to tell lies. They tell lies almost every day. But do you think that is right?—
Did you know that all the sickness, pain and death that are on the earth came because of a lie?— The Devil lied to the first woman Eve about God. As a result, she broke God’s law. Then she got Adam to break God’s law too. Now they were sinners, and all their children would be born sinners. And because of sin they would suffer and die. How did it all start?— With a lie.
No wonder Jesus said that the Devil “is a liar and the father of the lie.” He is the first one that told a lie. When anyone tells a lie, he is doing what the Devil did. We should think about this if we ever feel tempted to tell a lie.—John 8:44.
It is often when a person does something wrong that he may feel tempted to lie about it. For example, you may break something. You may not have meant to do it, but the thing broke anyway. What should you do?— Should you try to hide it and hope that no one will find out?—
We should remember Ananias and Sapphira. They tried to hide the truth. And God showed how bad that was by striking them dead.
So, no matter what we may do, we should never lie about it. The Bible says: “Speak truth.” It also says: “Do not be lying to one another.” Jehovah always speaks the truth, and he expects us to do the same.—Ephesians 4:25; Colossians 3:9.
(We should always tell the truth. That is the point made at Exodus 20:16; Proverbs 6:16-19; 14:5; 12:19; 16:6.)