Have I ever told a so called “white” one and got away with it? I’ve told one before, and other lies as well. Hey, we can tell the truth in a post-truth kinda world.
Is it ever right to tell a lie?
Q: What’s a “white lie” really? Is it white and right?
A: It’s any lie (the so called white lie is). It’s a particular lie that, due to mitigating circumstances, honorable intentions, or limited scope, is considered negligible. Plenty of people believe that lying can be acceptable and even justifiable in certain circumstances. They argue that noble motives and the need of the moment can erase the sinful weight of the lie.
Have I told a so called “white” lie before, or some not even near white at all? Yes, and sometimes thought I was doing right due to my motives at the time. Have you done that too.. and what do you currently think about all that? Listen, God can forgive you and me of any sins. Humbly ask and receive.
Can you find one in the Bible? Check out the story of Rahab.
And the king of Jericho sent word to Rahab, saying, “Bring out the men who have come to you, who have entered your house, for they have come to search out all the land.” But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them, and she said, “Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they were from. It came about when it was time to shut the gate at dark, that the men went out; I do not know where the men went. Pursue them quickly, for you will overtake them.” But she had brought them up to the roof and hidden them in the stalks of flax which she had laid in order on the roof. (Joshua 2:3–6)
Jesus never sinned once, He never even told a lie. You and I, we are to follow Him, His teachings, and His good example.
What does the Bible say about white lies?
What does the Bible say about lyin’ and cheating in school?
Sup with lyin’ and human depravity — is it biblical?
Back in the day, should those Hebrew midwives have been commended for lying?
What does it mean that Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44)?
“A righteous man hates lying, but a wicked man is loathsome and comes to shame.” Prov. 13:5 nkjv
Live straightforward in the Son who is that way. The wise person’s words are sincere. They are honest. They are like silver (see Prov. 10:20), a tree of life (Prov. 15:4), food to nourish people (Prov. 10:21), like refreshing water (Prov. 10:11; 18:4), and like medicine (Prov. 12:18). The wise have words that should always be well seasoned like with salt (Col. 4:6) and must never become false and destructive (Jam. 3:1–12).
Choose Jesus and stop lying because the Lord is the God of truth. There is no other. Yes, the Lord hates a lying tongue (Prov. 6:17; 12:22).
With half truths told and full lies, people cover their true feelings up (Prov. 10:18), and they promote hypocrisy (Prov. 26:23–26). Liars do not last (Prov. 12:19), but some lies can go on for years — they do gobs of damage. Wealth gained by lies is fleeting away. Many people use lies for a quick acquisition of bucks. (Meditate upon Prov. 21:6). All liars will one day be punished for their sinful habit (Prov. 19:5, 9). If God hates lies like He really does, then we too must hate them like He does, or learn to hate lies (Prov. 13:5). Ponder and re-ponder Ephesians 4:17–32.
Pray that God will give you truthful words to tell your story, to share the Gospel Message too. Pray He’ll use your words to win people to Christ, to heal the brokenhearted. Yes, to bring deliverance (see Prov. 12:6). It’s the mouth of the wicked that brings bondage (12:13). None really wants that.
Tell it straight, all nine yards of the Gospel, yes, the Message of Life. Do you have friends that need His Message and salvation, then go tactfully tell? Boldly tell. Right words must begin with right thoughts, and right motives (Honest words v. 5) and a love for learning what’s true. (v. 1). Yes, in this area is where the ungodly person fails. Truthful words bring good to others and false words simply don’t (Prov. 10:21). Truthful conversations also to those who join in and speak truth (So edifying! v. 14; Prov. 13:2). With your words, you can help to heal those who have been broken or hurt (v. 18) and who have suffered because of lies (vv. 19–22). You can bring joy to those who are depressed and worried too (v. 25).
Lies, other sins done, and saying some other things wrong is what put Jesus up on that cross. My sins did, and yours did too. (Yesterday we celebrated Easter. Man, I don’t want Christ’s shed blood on that lonely tree to be in vain for me. Please confess truthfully and apply His cleansing by faith).
Yeah, I’ve been guilty, but want to become wiser than I’ve been. I don’t believe I’ve ever heard my dear wife, Liney, lie but she too needs Christ her Savior. But Ms. Rahab fibbed back in the day. Remember?
By lying, Ms. Rahab prevented the capture of the Israelite spies and helped pave the way for Israel to conquer Jericho. Remarkably, Rahab is the only Gentile honored for her faith in Hebrews 11. By commending her faith, is Scripture also condoning her methods? Was hers the rarest of circumstances in which lying was the right thing to do?
Scholars and ethicists have argued over that question, going all the way back to the earliest rabbinical history. Not at all an easy question for us.
Scripture clearly teaches that “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal truthfully are His delight” (Proverbs 12:22 NKJV). God Himself cannot lie (Titus 1:2; Numbers 23:19; 1 Samuel 15:29), and therefore He cannot condone or sanction a lie.
Some people and Christians argue that because of the serious circumstances, Rahab’s words to her interrogators were not technically a “lie,” but this was a military feint — a military stratagem that was designed to out-trick or outwit the enemy to defeat em in warfare. Then other people argue: No, any lie is acceptable if the motive serves a greater good, like in saving a person’s life. I wanna help save lives physically, and I want God to use you and me to save sinners too. Eternity is long, heaven and hell are real places.
Such a situational approach to ethics regarding words is fraught with very serious problems.
Personally, do I see a need to try to justify Rahab’s lie. Nope. Do I see any biblical basis for defending her verbal deception as righteous? Nope. God is so powerful and wise, He certainly could have saved Rahab and the spies without her lie.
Do you remember Corrie Ten Boom and her story? She fixed watches in the Ten Boom home in Haarlem, Holland. (Visitors today can still view the actual ‘hiding place. Read the book. She later attended the Costa Mesa So Cal church where I went as a teen).
Jews were sheltered by the Ten Booms during World War 2. Yet Corrie and her family weren’t liars — they were concerned reborn Christians with faith in God and a deep love for the Jews as we all should have.
Corrie and her family had been hiding Jews away from the Nazis for a long time until they were betrayed by a fellow (hardhearted foolish) countryman.
And Corrie also spoke of some German people in Deutschland who were doing this for some Jews too. Lives were being hid and saved.
Corrie’s godly sis, Betsy Ten Boom, was a very honest believer in the Netherlands where they had their watch shop. She was extraordinarily sincere and had long decided, years earlier that she would never tell a lie. It this became for her an unbreakable principle of life.
One day some German soldiers came by unexpectedly to the door and burst in to the house to search the whole home, diligently looking for Jews to arrest.
The legs of the table there had been nailed down to the kitchen floor inside of the home. And beneath that table was a carpet concealing a small trap door. Lifting the table up would open the door to that secret basement where people were hiding.
Yes, there was one family of Jews hiding in that chamber under the carpet and floor. The Jews had gone down through that trap door and were hidden under the table.
One German soldier asked “Are there any Jews hidden in this house?” And Betsy Ten Boom had no time to think really, or even to pray out-loud, about what she should respond. So, she just acted on instinct? Wsas the Holy Spirit leading her with those words. Did He give them to her? This was in accordance with her ingrained habits that she had built up over many years. Betsy just blurted out “Yes, they are hiding underneath the table”.
Did God want Betsy to say that? She could have remained silent, but she didn’t. She had no biblical duty to say it. And those Nazi Germans had no right to even be in there, let alone to ask them their question. Moreover, their purpose in asking it was abominable because they hated the Jews. And they were proactively seeking to gain favor from their leaders (murderers) by arresting and killing God’s chosen people, the Jews. That’s the reason why the Ten Boom family was hiding the Jesus for so long. So, Corrie’s family members were probably feeling horrified by what Betsy had just said to those Nazis.
However, God was there. His heart was evidently touched by Betsy’s sincerity and honesty. So God blessed and intervened. The Lord must have planted a thought into the German soldier’s mind, because he immediately got the wrong end of the stick it would seem. He assumed that Betsy was making fun of him and that she couldn’t possibly have meant what she had just said. He mistakenly took it as sarcasm from her, which is the exact opposite of what it actually was. He therefore must have became red-faced and foolish. So he felt that if he looked under the table everybody would laugh at him. They could already see under that table. So, he turned and left that room disgusted. The Germans then searched the whole of the rest of the house, i.e. pretty much everywhere except under the table, but they came up with nothing and nobody Jewish.
It all ended happily that day. There would be other days much harder just ahead for the family, but those Jews who had been under that table all survived the entire war. God preserved all their lives. In part, I expect He did so in honor of what Betsy had just done as she simply applied the1 Scriptures.
Praise the Lord Jesus a thousand times — no far more than that for all eternity! It was due to her honesty, the strength she received by grace, and the sincerity of her conviction.
God rewarded Betsy Ten Boom for doing the very opposite of what Rehab did. I like how both ladies really wanted to protect the innocent — “love.. always protects”. And that’s what we, in love, are to do as well!
The Bible says that, “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection (selfless flawless sinless Jesus) comes, the imperfect disappears.” 1 Cor. 13:6–10 niv #emphasis.mine
Will God always always preserve the physical life of people here when you tell the truth? Perhaps not, and we need to be ready for that. Many martyrs from the time of the Early Church were killed for sharing the truth with accuracy. But God will hear every prayer, and He will intervene with grace, with the right words and wisdom when needed. We have two fairly similar situations that where handled in totally opposite ways by two different ladies, Rahab and Betsy Ten Boom and yet God rescued people in danger, and He honored both of these women of faith.
Betsy Ten Boom didn’t reveal how far beneath that table they were in hiding there. She didn’t elaborate at all to those cruel Nazis.
I don’t believe you always need to say everything that could be said at every point and at every moment of your life. Do you? There is some virtue in keeping your mouth shut. My dad always told me, “Kurt, God has given us two ears and one mouth so we will listen more. I find that it’s when I am listening — that’s the time when I am learning.”
We can listen, gain and grow the easy way via percept-learning, instead of the hard way from ignoring God’s precepts.
For witnessing-sake, I remember taking my German Gospel tracts with some Luther Scriptures on into the DDR in East Berlin before the wall fell. At Checkpoint Charlie, I was nervous a bit but wasn’t asked about any literature on me at all so I proceeded into East Germany.
What about Brother Andrew and other believers who have smuggled Bibles into Communist Lands before (they are my heroes, the ones who are really brave. I didn’t take in much)? Do you ever consider how they did their work? In the purposes of God, the Chinese authorities at different entry gates, didn’t always stop and question these Christians bringing in the Bibles.
What a wonder God is — I praise His Holy Spirti and His awesome Name! Jesus still works in amazing ways and always achieves His long-planned sovereign purposes. My love for Him, for His truth and convictions concerning Bible truth are still intact. You and I daily should honor truth regardless of the sweat or situation. We are to wisely live spiritually uncompromising lives — no excuses. We are to call upon His Name (silently or out-loud) in a tight or tough spot. There’s no time for a lukewarm faith, or some worldly, religious, or carnal lifestyle. Too many believers compromise in foolish ways. How can they expect to be blessed and rewarded? Want to stay blessable? Then tell the truth right there in God’s will for you. If you are out of His will, then repent, trust Jesus as Lord, and pray your way on into His will. Honestly go the distance with Him as your Shepherd in His will for you!
So back to Rahab’s story, her lie was never thee point of the story. There is no need for clever rationalization to justify her lie. Scripture never commends her lie. Rahab is never applauded for her ethics. Rahab is a positive example of faith. In fact, Hebrews 11:31 explicitly commends Rahab’s hospitality to the spies and nothing more.
In the moment she lied, her faith was newborn, weak, and in need of nurture and growth. Her knowledge of Israel’s God was meager. It is likely that she had never met worshippers of God before that night. She probably had no understanding of the value He put on truthfulness.
On top of that, she was a product of a corrupt culture where ethics were virtually nonexistent. Lying was a way of life in her society — and especially in her profession. The way she responded is just what we might expect from a brand-new believer under those circumstances.
The main point is that Rahab’s new faith was commendable, as undeveloped as it was. Her faith immediately bore the fruit of good actions. What did she do in faith? She “welcomed the spies in peace” (Hebrews 11:31) — meaning that she not only hid them, but also implicitly embraced their great Cause as they obeyed the Lord.
She thereby entrusted her whole life and future into the hands of their loving God. And the proof of her new faith was not the so called white lie she told, but the fact that “she received the messengers and sent them out by another way” (James 2:25) — when she might have asked for some money and then handed them over instead. The lie was not at all what made her actions commendable to anyone. It was the fact that she turned down an easy reward, she actually put herself in jeopardy, and thus staked everything on this God of Israel. Smart move! Nothing but biblical faith could have made such a dramatic, instantaneous change in the character of such this great woman. Follow the lead of the Lord, tell the truth and just keep your mouth shut when it’s time for that.
Q: What about when the teller of white lies along with other big fat lies is like “empowered by their group identity today?”
Then what? How do you befriend the person, how do you share the Gospel, and how do you pray effectively for, and win that person? Can God give you wisdom for that? Sure. Ask believing.
If the believer in that popular lie of the day has “a group identity’ today that’s supporting their specific lie.. how then can you convince them of the truth of the Gospel? Focus on Jesus and the truth in what you prayerfully say.
If he or she is emboldened by a whole lot of other people who are also saying the same exact wrong thing. Look up, look out, walk wisely. Yes, if there’s a whole collection of people highly committed to their lie, and liberal lawyers, the news media, and the State backs them up with it then they’re sort of “empowered” aren’t they (with that popular error). But Who is enough for you to deal with it all? Who is there for you? Who told you to go share the Gospel Message (remember the Great Commandment and the Great Commission)? Who will you pray to that can save anyone if they become humble and open to what’s so? Who is the most powerful Person in the whole universe if they are sort of “empowered”? Yes, it’s Jesus we go to. Facebook.com/shareJesus