IS IT EVER OK TO LIE?
We saw in the previous blog that Satan is the source of all lies and deception (John 8:44) and we are never to lie. Often Satan tempts us to lie in any way he can. A lie is a lie and there is never justification for it. But what about when the truth is worse than a lie?
Is it ever right to tell a lie? It’s easy to give a sound ‘No’ to that question, and that is the correct answer, but sometimes things aren’t always that black and white. As a pastor, someone in my church may ask me what I think of their new hair style. I have my own personal preferences, and if their likes differ from mine, how honest am I to be in criticizing their choices?
If you are a married man you run into this as well. You are getting ready for a long awaited and much needed evening out with your wife. You are looking forward to it, and so is she. In fact, she got something new to wear just for this occasion. Your wife gets dressed and asks you, “Do these jeans make me look fat?” So what do you say?
The typical male will probably pretend he doesn’t hear her while he frantically searches for the ‘right’ answer to this question, all the while knowing there really isn’t one. But perhaps she’ll drop the subject if he doesn’t hear her. Unfortunately that doesn’t happen as she asks again. So he gives a very noncommittal answer, “I love you in jeans.” Hopefully he’ll get through this checkpoint and move on with the evening.
But that isn’t to be, for she keeps pushing, “I need to know, do these make me look fat?” So what do you do? You must answer. Do you lie and give her the answer she wants to hear, or do you say something honest like “Don’t blame it on the jeans!” If so, there goes date night. Is it ever OK to lie?
Before you are quick to answer remember that the midwives in Exodus 1:15-21 lied when they were supposed to kill Hebrew males who were born. They didn’t, but said it was because the women gave birth without calling them. There might have been some truth to that, but they were clearly deceiving those who asked. God blessed them and rewarded them for their stand. Nothing was said about their lying. Would it have been better to be guilty of murder instead of lying? Or should they have told the truth, been punished and replaced by someone who would kill the babies?
Or what about Rahab who hid the spied in Jericho and lied, saying she didn’t know where they were and that they left the town? God blessed and rewarded her as well. Should Corrie tenBoom have been honest and told where she was hiding Jews from the Nazis?
Then there is David who fled from King Saul and covered it by saying he was going to have a special time of worship with God (1 Samuel 21:1-22:23). God used that to spare David’s life, and nothing is recorded about it being a sin.
So is it ever OK to lie? I can’t give you a hard and fast rule about these things, although I wish I could. I think our motive, our reason for deceiving, has a lot to do with what God thinks about it. Each one of us has to be sensitive to God’s leading in these cases. Only God can give you wisdom and peace in these Catch 22 cases.
And by the way, women, do you really want to know how the jeans make you look? If all you want is an objective opinion look in a mirror or ask a girlfriend. Don’t tempt your husband to lie to spare your feelings. Besides, is it the truth you want, or reassurance that, to him, you are still good-looking? If that’s what you are really asking, he should be able to give an honest, affirmative answer that can make your evening even better. (June 6, 2022 Doylestown, PA)
I Samuel 16:7 For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
Do you believe it is sin to lie if the truth will hurt someone? Is it ever justifiable to lie?
cto Rev. Dr. JERRY SCHMOYER
Christian Training Organization
(India Outreach, Spiritual Warfare, Family Ministries, Counseling, World View)
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