by Col Larry Simpson, USAF (Ret.)
“When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened” (Acts 5:5).
A close reading of Acts 5:1-11, the account of Ananias and Sapphira’s deceit, should lead one to conclude that truth is the essential thing. In this perplexing story–which takes place as the early church was forming–maintaining a standard of truth and honesty proved to be the bedrock for the church and our Christian faith. Those endowed with leadership responsibility needed to set and safeguard ethical standards.
Many are shocked at the decisive, harsh response to the couple’s duplicity. Yet neither Peter nor the disciples brought about this speedy demise. They lied to the Spirit of the Lord. He acted as He saw fit.
How might the Christian leader apply the lesson of Ananias and Sapphira to the work place? I can recall saying or hearing others say: “I have to make an example of this one.” Why is it necessary for a leader to take extreme positions?
What does the practice of truth and maintaining high standards do for the Christian leader? In a word: Everything!
The leader often finds himself or herself in a position to judge matters. 2 Timothy 2:15 encourages diligence, which leads to right decisions and honorable handling of truth. Essentially, practicing truth helps one hold a straight course.
Consider other benefits of practicing and requiring integrity in those one leads:
- The Christian leader who upholds truth standards helps others do likewise
- He or she protects the integrity of institutions established by God
- The Christian leader sends a compelling message to others to “put off falsehood” and to speak truth to every man. (Ephesians 4:25)
- As with Peter, the Christian leader would do well to allow everyone involved a chance to tell his/her side of the story. “Audi Partem Alterum” — hear the other side.
- Leaders need not fear truth but must pursue it.
Truth is the fabric of what we stand for and is what we as Christian leaders are called to practice.
Copyrighted by Officers’ Christian Fellowship and Larry Simpson. For personal reflection and growth. Not for distribution.
This article originally appeared in COMMAND magazine, or an OCF Ministry Report.