Keeping up appearances. Acts 5:26:

‘ At that, the captain went with his officers and brought the apostles. They did not use force, because they feared that the people would stone them.’ NIV UK
‘’The chief and his police went and got them, but they handled them gently, fearful that the people would riot and turn on them’’ The Message.
 ‘’The police captain went with his officers and arrested them (without violence, for they were afraid the people would kill them if they roughed up the disciples)…’’ Living Bible.

The people who arrested the apostles were not true to themselves. They were in disguise. They did not dare display their true colours because they had an eye to the opinion polls. The text implies that they would have used force if necessary. They wouldn’t have minded bashing up the preachers. But they wore kid gloves for the sake of appearances.

Now this is an insight into the high degree of favour the church was enjoying among the general populace at the time. But it also makes me think about the temptation we all face to live hypocritically (and maybe we frequently do?) Because we are too concerned about what people think, we don’t live consistently out of our deepest convictions. For whatever the reason, we don’t want to be known for who we really are. We hide behind the bushes of appearance. Integrity is to be integrated – within and without. What’s on the inside is visible on the outside. The real heart overflows and is not held back.

PRAYER: Lord God, may I not live a lie, but always be full of integrity.