That’s a very good question. We sometimes allow ourselves to tell ‘white lies’ whenever our lies will protect someone’s feelings. (Does this dress make me look fat?) Perhaps we might tell a lie to protect someone. (Did ____ really say I am dumb? If he did, I am going to beat him up.) Perhaps we might tell a lie to make ourselves look good to others. (I was the starting quarterback on my High School football team.) We often think of these lies as harmless. No one is hurt when we tell these kinds of lies. By lying at the proper time, we actually think we can benefit others.

It might help us to look at this in view of who the originator of lies is. In John 8:44 the Lord said, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for HE IS A LIAR, and THE FATHER OF IT.” Can anything of Satan ever be used in a good way?

Here are just a few verses that deal with lying:

  • Leviticus 19:11, “Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely, neither lie one to another.”
  • Proverbs 12:22, “Lying lips are abomination to the LORD.”
  • Romans 12:17, “Provide things honest in the sight of all men.”
  • Ephesians 4:25, “Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor.”
  • Colossians 3:9, “Lie not one to another.”
  • James 3:14, “…lie not against the truth.”

There are many more that could be cited, but that should be enough to show us the Lord’s thoughts concerning being untruthful. Titus 1:2 tells us that, “God…cannot lie”, so we see that in perfection there is no lying at all. As we just read in Romans 12:17, we should always “provide things honest” to everyone at all times. What if the truth hurts someone’s feelings? What if the truth endangers someone? What about Rahab who told a lie and protected the Lord’s spies in Joshua, chapter two? Was that acceptable? We have no account that the Lord approved of Rahab’s lie, although it did produce favorable results. The ends do not justify the means!We must insist on what the Word of God says, and it tells us to always be truthful, without exception. When we begin to determine for ourselves if and when it is proper to lie, we will begin to expand our reasons for lying. Such as:

  • I told a lie so that I would not hurt someone’s feelings.
  • I had to tell a second lie to cover up the first lie.
  • I have to tell everyone the same lie so that my first lie won’t be exposed.

I was once eating dinner with some friends in a foreign country. The food I was served was not to my liking at all, but I ate it gratefully. When the hostess asked if I liked the food, I lied and told her I really enjoyed it. What did she do? She filled my plate again with the same food! I was immediately faced with the consequences of my lie. Small lie, large lie, a lie told with good intentions…they are all lies and scriptures tells us not to lie.

It is almost impossible to only tell one lie. One lie will always lead to another lie.

I read several articles dealing with this subject in preparation of offering a scriptural answer to your question. Every article I read indicated that there are exceptions to this rule and that in certain circumstances, it would be acceptable to tell a lie, such as lying to save someone’s life. I cannot, in good conscience, tell anyone that in certain cases it will be okay to disobey God’s Word. Rather, I will tell you to ALWAYS obey God’s Word and leave the consequences in His hands, whatever they may be. (228.2)