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“You’re being disingenuous”

There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and placed it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and placed it at the apostles’ feet. But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, and with his wife’s knowledge he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it and placed it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has the adversary filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and secretly to steal from the proceeds of the land? Remaining unsold, it remained yours. Being sold, it was still under your control. Why did you place into your heart this transaction? You did not lie to man but to God.” When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and passed away. And great fear came upon all who heard of it. The young men rose and wrapped him up and carried him out and buried him. After an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. And Peter said to her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much.” And she said, “Yes, for so much.” But Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” Immediately she fell down at his feet and passed away. When the young men came in they found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. And great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things. Acts 4: 34 – 5: 11 
 
Have you ever been told – to your face – that you were being disingenuous? The first time that happened to me I didn’t know what the word meant. So I looked it up. The central part – ingenue – started life as a word to describe a simple innocent girl or your woman. It means artless, simple, frank, truthful.
 
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‘Truth exists: only falsehood has to be invented.’ (Georges Braque, French painter, 1882-1963) 
The first part – dis – means “the opposite of”. Hence “dishonest” means “not honest” and “disingenuous” means “not innocent, not artless, not truthful”. To be disingenuous therefore means to be a liar.

With this in mind, take a look at the incident in AD 30 recorded in bold above. It occurred in Jerusalem within a few months of the death and rising again of Jesus. Fifty days after the resurrection, the Holy Spirit of the LORD God came upon the disciples of Jesus there. They told people about Jesus and over 3,000 people became followers of Jesus on the day – followed by many more. 

So changed were these folk that (see above) -  There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and placed it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.

But two people in that fellowship decided to be disingenuous. They had no need to be. They owned a piece of land, sold it, and said that they were giving the whole of the proceeds to bless the needy. They could have kept it all – no problem. They could have said they were giving half and keeping half – no problem. What they said they didn’t do. Both remained disingenuous when individually asked. Both died on the spot. The adversary had filled their heart.

Why is this incident preserved in the historic record of the first apostles (sent-out-ones) of Jesus from AD 30 onwards? Why - when it shows up the early church in a bad light? Will people think that Christians can be disingenuous? 

People should not only think that – they should now know that to be true. Three examples. One “Christian” businessman profited greatly from the ingenue of his business partner by extracting an income whilst the other funded the losses. Another “Christian” was a trustee of charitable funds and concealed the transfer to his family of part of the sale of trust property. Yet another “Christian” made false expense claims. All three, when challenged, were strongly disingenuous. None died on the spot.

 
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 ‘I have not observed men’s honesty to increase with their riches.’ (Thomas Jefferson, Third President of the United States, 1743-1826) 
What do you think? Do these incidents disprove the truth of the death and rising again of Jesus of Nazareth? Or do they, very tellingly, point, unwaveringly and impartially, to the dire need of all human beings (including “Christians”) for forgiveness - from above through Jesus - before it’s too late? Before the adversary fills their heart for ever.

Or am I being disingenuous?
 
Sinner Syvret

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