Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Is It Ever OK To Lie?

A friend of mine and I were discussing the book "The Hiding Place". In the book, Corrie ten Boom lies about hiding Jews to protect them from the Germans. Christa asked me what I thought about that. As Christians, we believe lying is sin, so what about Corrie ten Boom lying? Is it ever ok to lie?

I told
Christa an idea I had, and thought I'd put it on here. I welcome discussion or comments on this. I can handle people disagreeing with me, I just don't like to be attacked and get rude comments, so even if you don't agree, comment. I'd like input.

I would like to throw out a scenario. Imagine you are in your house with your family. Someone breaks in brandishing a gun, and either tries to take one of your children, or has intend to harm or kill your family. You have a gun. What would you do? I think just about any of us would shoot, even to kill, to protect those we love, or those we are trying to protect. It would be self defense.

In God's eyes, sin is sin. We humans tend to put sin in degrees and levels. We all would say killing is worse than lying, so if it is ok to kill someone to save a life, is it any worse to lie to save a life? Or more than one life?

If, God forbid, the day comes that Christianity is outlawed, and they seek Christians out to imprison and kill, if in that day, you hid your children when the people were at your door to take you away - if they asked if there was anyone else in the house, what would you do? Would you admit your children were hiding in the house, knowing to admit it would mean sure imprisonment and most likely death for them? Or would you say there was no one else in the house, giving them a chance to get away and possibly survive?
I could be way off base, but most of the lying that is done has a few things wrong with it. It is often done for selfish reasons - to save face. It is done to cover up other sins. It is done to hurt someone else. There are more reasons than that, but I'd say those are some of the main ones. If you are lying to save a life, no one is hurt. There is no selfish motivation, but rather love & concern for another human life.

I believe that if we Christians ever have to go into hiding, if the mark of the beast takes place, and we have no way to buy food, that we may beg, borrow, and even steal food, to feed our loved ones.

I believe God is a just God, and we must obey His laws, but I also believe that He may give more leeway than we think in cases like that. The object is to try not to do it.

One last thought: Rahab lied in the Bible to save the spies who were hiding. She was actually rewarded for saving their lives, even though she lied, and I could look it up to be sure, but I believe she was even in the lineage of Jesus.

So what do you think? Is my point valid? Is it ok to lie to save a life?


Kim M. said...

Hmmmm GOOD question! In most cases, probably no.

But... I think in Corrie Ten Boom's case it was just like Rahab's situation.

It is definitely a heart issue!

In cases of war it happens a lot... I have always wondered about this myself.

I think if I were the one being persecuted I would be the Lord to speak through me and give me wisdom.

These verses are also interesting. Times when the Lord Himself put lying spirits into the mouths of prophets.

"So you see, the LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouths of your prophets. For the LORD has determined disaster for you." - 1 Kings 22:23

"So you see, the LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouths of your prophets. For the LORD has determined disaster for you." - 2 Chronicles 18:22

"God shall send them strong delusion that they should believe a lie." (2 Thess. 2:11)

There are other examples in Scripture where deception is used (Abraham). The ten commandments says "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor". Think about the wording of that. Hmmm..
Good question!

Christa said...

Boy! you did stump me all afternoon with that one. Had to give that some thought.
I think God did bless Corrie and even Rahab(who as far as we know at the time was not a Christian), because they were His people that they were taking care of. God did say, "And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed." speaking of the nation that was to come from Abraham. And of course, we know God has always blessed those who take care of the Jews. I dont think that means they were right to lie. He just seen their heart intent, because God is commonsensical, forgave them. Just like Abraham, I think He seen
Abraham's heart intent was not to disobey God, but he was just weak. He helped out of the situation, but especially the first time, Abraham's testimony in that place was totally ruined--they wanted him OUT!!
As far as comparing the two commandments of how we would kill to protect our family, but why we would we not lie...Killing someone that is going to hurt your family is not murder. "Thou shall not kill" should be "Thou shalt not murder". The Hebrew word used here is "ratsach" which nearly always refers to intentional killing without cause . So you would probably not be breaking a commandment by shooting someone who was going to hurt your family, whereas I dont see exception to lying. It is even repeated in the NT--Colossians 3:9 "Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;" God also took care of the Jews that Betsie and Nollie refused to lie about. He honored their honesty.
I still think honesty is the best policy in conclusion.
And you know, you always can just refuse to answer, you dont have to lie.
However, it is also good to know as Abraham said that the Judge of the all the earth will do right.

reagan said...

In my class at school we are reading the Hiding Place, We had a debate about the topic of is it ever ok to lie. In my opinion it is never ok to lie. If you we in a life threatening situation and God's plan for you was to live than if you told the truth than he would spare you. For Example Nollie in the book, she told the true and good always came out of it. Please write back!

Kim M. said...

I have researched this a little bit more because I really want to know truth. I have never believed in situation ethics (this is what our humanist colleges teach!), so this particular situation definitely warrants studying. The Lord Himself knows that I would never want to lie!
I found a really good article on this that explains why the Lord would bless Rahab anyway...for you who are interested....


Kim M. said...

Just a little quote from the last paragraph of the article I linked to about Rahab... just to pique your interest... *smiles *

God expects-and deserves-the same kind of obedience from us today.
Critic and Christian alike should bewilling to say, as did this laudable lady from
days of old, According unto yourwords, so be it (Joshua 2:21). What an ad-
mirable attitude and how worthy of being imitated! Rahab sinned, repented,
and obeyed. If we today should sin, surely those of us who know more about
God, HisWord, and His will for our lives than she did ought to follow her ex-
ample in repentance, obedience, and service

Gus said...

I agree that you could refuse to answer and put your life on the line.
But you could also just pretend to be crazy or pray and dance wildly like when I believe it was David that was in enemy territory and the king of that territory saw him, he said this man is crazy let him go; He trusted in the Lord when he did not know what to do.

But remember that peter denied knowing Jesus three times yet he forgave him, three times. Peter really did love the Lord, but the situation put fear in his heart. Just like when Peter was walking on water after the Lord called out to him. When Peter looked down he was afraid and fell. And remember when Jesus said "the sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath." and Paul in timothy-- "We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers,"

In a situation where one protects somebody else, is it not a righteous cause and especially if that person that lies puts their life on the line and is murdered because of it blessed for them being killed by righteousness.

Are we all capable of fulfilling the law perfectly? absolutely not. If we were we wouldn't need our savior.


"What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off?" Jesus is correcting the scribes and the pharisees for oppressive and legalistic/Mechanical view on the law.

So do I believe it's ok to lie..No.

But I don't believe you will go to hell for saving somebodies life or hidden jews behind a fake wall during nazi germany.

And I believe that if you refuse or you tell the truth on account of having much faith in the Lord ( not fear like peter did) It will be a bigger blessing because of it and more than likely (God willing) work a miracle.

God loves faith because without faith it is impossible to please god--Fall of man was the direct result in trusting God from the get go.

Rahab put her faith in god before the israelites came and ravaged the city (judgement) and repented.
She also blessed the nation of Israel.

When it comes down to it, and lives are threatened we can find ourselves being a peter when the cock crows. If Peter would have said he knew Jesus then what? Jesus knew he would fail but it's ok because when we are not faithful, HE is faithful.