13 Question 1

In the scriptures, there is no such thing as situational ethics.  There is right and there is wrong.  We know that one of the ten commandments concerns lying.  Exodus 20:16 says, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.”  This means we should not tell lies about someone else.  Proverbs 12:22 tells us, “Lying lips are abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight.”  And then we have in Ephesians 4:25 – “Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.”  Lying is one thing that the Lord Himself cannot do.  Titus 1:1-2 tells us that.  It says, “Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness; In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.”  Lying is always sin.  I just don’t see any way around this.  There are certainly times when it seems like a little lie would make things better, but we just don’t have scriptural permission to pick and choose when we should tell the truth.  We should always speak the truth, even if it hurts someone’s feelings.

Men, suppose your wife asks you if you like a particular dress.  You really don’t like it and think that it does not flatter her at all.  You want to be nice, so you tell her that you like it and she looks great in it.  The next thing you know, she buys the dress and a couple more like it.  Now you feel like it’s too late to tell her the truth.  You should have just been honest from the beginning.

Some have used the story of Rahab, the harlot, to justify lying in certain circumstances.  Let’s look briefly at the story in Joshua 2:1-7 – “And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim two men to spy secretly, saying, Go view the land, even Jericho. And they went, and came into an harlot’s house, named Rahab, and lodged there.   And it was told the king of Jericho, saying, Behold, there came men in hither to night of the children of Israel to search out the country. And the king of Jericho sent unto Rahab, saying, Bring forth the men that are come to thee, which are entered into thine house: for they be come to search out all the country. And the woman took the two men, and hid them, and said thus, There came men unto me, but I wist not whence they were: And it came to pass about the time of shutting of the gate, when it was dark, that the men went out: whither the men went I wot not: pursue after them quickly; for ye shall overtake them. But she had brought them up to the roof of the house, and hid them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order upon the roof. And the men pursued after them the way to Jordan unto the fords: and as soon as they which pursued after them were gone out, they shut the gate.”  Of course, as a citizen of Jericho, Rahab would have been an heathen and not familiar with the realization that lying is always sin.  Did the Lord need Rahab to lie to protect His men?  Not at all.  Listen to the testimony of these two spies in verse 24 of Joshua, chapter 2: “And they said unto Joshua, Truly the LORD hath delivered into our hands all the land; for even all the inhabitants of the country do faint because of us.”  The Lord delivered them, it was not Rahab’s lie that delivered them.  Rahab is commended in James 2:25 for her work of faith, but not for her lie.  It says, “Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?”

Throughout history, there have been times when it seems like a lie really brought good results. However, the Lord never says, “Do evil that good may come of it.”  We must realize that the end does not justify the means.  The Lord has called upon us to always be truthful.  May we act in obedience to this and leave the results and consequences with the Lord.  We are not at liberty to decide when to speak the truth and when to lie.  Hear the words of the Lord in Zechariah 8:16 – “These are the things that ye shall do; Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbour; execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates.”