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Are there times when it’s good or ok to lie?

ervin p

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Hi everyone, I’ve copied the following from one of my other threads that I posted somewhere else but didn’t get many answers:

Hi. So is it ever ok or good to lie? Let’s say that example where you are a German in Germany in a second world war and you are hiding Jews from nazis and the German soldiers come asking have you seen any Jews and you lie and say no in order to protect them from murder. Was that lie a good deed or bad deed?

Is it ok or good for police to lie when investigating? Police prevent a lots of serious crimes all the time and most of their work is based on deception for good purposes.

Is it ok for soldiers to deceive in order to defend the country. Is it ok for them to sneak up on enemy and spy and cary out secret attacks? How about camouflage?

Is it ok for us to lie in order to save ourselves from unjust treatment?

So basically my question is: Can it ever be said that lie is ok? or can it be ever said that lie is good?

Thanks
 

TibiasDad

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Hi everyone, I’ve copied the following from one of my other threads that I posted somewhere else but didn’t get many answers:

Hi. So is it ever ok or good to lie? Let’s say that example where you are a German in Germany in a second world war and you are hiding Jews from nazis and the German soldiers come asking have you seen any Jews and you lie and say no in order to protect them from murder. Was that lie a good deed or bad deed?

Is it ok or good for police to lie when investigating? Police prevent a lots of serious crimes all the time and most of their work is based on deception for good purposes.

Is it ok for soldiers to deceive in order to defend the country. Is it ok for them to sneak up on enemy and spy and cary out secret attacks? How about camouflage?

Is it ok for us to lie in order to save ourselves from unjust treatment?

So basically my question is: Can it ever be said that lie is ok? or can it be ever said that lie is good?

Thanks

This is a complicated question, in my opinion, because it is the motivation of the perpetrator that determines the "sinfulness" of the act. The lack of being completely truthful is not necessarily a lie. The deception of leading someone to believe one thing in order to surprise them for their birthday is not a sin, but it is a deception, the telling of an untruth. An untruth is not always a lie!

If we lie for the purpose of avoiding unjust treatment, for example, it may or may not be sinful in its actions. I think that a person being held hostage might lie to protect themselves or their loved ones, and it is not sinful deception, but if one is captured for being a Christian and lies to keep from being persecuted, that is indeed a sinful act of deception.

I don't think that this a question that has a black and white kind of answer pragmatically. If one is deceiving primarily for personal preservation or gain of advantage, then it is a sinful behavior. If not, it probably doesn't meet the standard of sin.

As for "camouflage", God told Gideon to take his 300 men and divide into three groups with torches and horns and surround the Midianites to appear to be a larger force than what they were, a mere 300 men. That was an act of deception, of camouflage; was that a lie. (Judges 7)

Doug
 

Hopeful

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Hi everyone, I’ve copied the following from one of my other threads that I posted somewhere else but didn’t get many answers:

Hi. So is it ever ok or good to lie? Let’s say that example where you are a German in Germany in a second world war and you are hiding Jews from nazis and the German soldiers come asking have you seen any Jews and you lie and say no in order to protect them from murder. Was that lie a good deed or bad deed?

Is it ok or good for police to lie when investigating? Police prevent a lots of serious crimes all the time and most of their work is based on deception for good purposes.

Is it ok for soldiers to deceive in order to defend the country. Is it ok for them to sneak up on enemy and spy and cary out secret attacks? How about camouflage?

Is it ok for us to lie in order to save ourselves from unjust treatment?

So basically my question is: Can it ever be said that lie is ok? or can it be ever said that lie is good?

Thanks
No, it is never OK to lie.
The devil is the father of lies and of those who use them. (John 8:44)
 

ervin p

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I sometimes say a lie. I don’t like lying, but there are times when I am just not strong enough to say the whole truth. In my case when I am in a difficult situation where I lie I’ll try to say as much truth as possible, so I’ll try to half lie.

If you are being tortured on not constant but regular basis for years and only a lie will stop that then when you loose tolerance for pain because it might have been around let’s say 12 years of that torture, you probably might lie, I do.

However, I tell the truth as much as possible in all circumstances.

Thanks
 

humble soul

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Just tell people you won an election, even if you haven't.
That lie seems acceptable to some.
(can delete...sorry)
 

humble soul

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The lies you tell yourself are the worst. Like for example " my morals are much better than the average person".
 

humble soul

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It is my opinion that the 'lie' is not important. The motive for the lie is.

(Heb. 11:31) (Joshua 2:3-7) (Joshua 6:17)

Quantrill
I'm telling lies because I want you to be impressed how knowledgeable I am.
 

Who Me

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Can it ever be said that lie is ok? or can it be ever said that lie is good?
Turn it around, can it ever be said that murder is good?
Lying is never justified as part of one's daily life.
That said it would be up to you as to whether one lied to avoid being killed or to stop torture.

The example often brought up is Corrie ten Boom and her lying to enable Jews to escape the concentration camps etc
What would you do in her situation?
 

for_his_glory

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I think there are justified lies that are plans from God's defense for His children like that of already mentioned, Gideon, Rahab, Corrie Ten Boom and many more that God uses for protection against the enemy.

There are also half truths that can be spoken to spare the feelings of another, but yet they can also be deceiving. This is a tuff topic, but if we allow the Holy Spirit to give us the words to speak then we will remain in God's will and purpose for any situation.
 

humble soul

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I'm just a warm-hearted , salt of the earth, love everybody kinda Christian.
What ? You think I'm lying? Ok...it could my illusion. In that case I'm not really lying. I'm just mentally ill.
 

OzSpen

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Hi everyone, I’ve copied the following from one of my other threads that I posted somewhere else but didn’t get many answers:

Hi. So is it ever ok or good to lie? Let’s say that example where you are a German in Germany in a second world war and you are hiding Jews from nazis and the German soldiers come asking have you seen any Jews and you lie and say no in order to protect them from murder. Was that lie a good deed or bad deed?

Is it ok or good for police to lie when investigating? Police prevent a lots of serious crimes all the time and most of their work is based on deception for good purposes.

Is it ok for soldiers to deceive in order to defend the country. Is it ok for them to sneak up on enemy and spy and cary out secret attacks? How about camouflage?

Is it ok for us to lie in order to save ourselves from unjust treatment?

So basically my question is: Can it ever be said that lie is ok? or can it be ever said that lie is good?

Thanks

Ervin,

I've done a fair amount of thinking about this issue over the years. I've concluded that if I were living during WW two I would have followed the example of Corrie ten Boon and Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

These are some reasons:

As a committed evangelical Christian, there are ethical dilemmas that I face.
  • One of these is, “Is it ever correct to save the life of the mother if aborting her unborn child will prevent the mother’s death?”
  • Was Corrie ten Boom being a faithful follower of Jesus Christ when she hid the Jews who were threatened with death by the Nazis? (You can read her story in The Hiding Place).
  • What about the Hebrew midwives in Exodus 1:15f who refused to kill sons who were born? Were they following a godly law that all Christians need to implement?
  • How do we defend what Rahab did in Joshua 2 by hiding the spies?
The following is biblical teaching on ethical decisions that I have gleaned over the years and have used my Christian mind to assess the details.

There are higher & lower moral laws.

Not all moral laws are of equal weight.
  • Jesus spoke of the “weightier” matters of the law (Matt. 23:23) – and of the “least” (Matt. 5:19),
  • and the “greatest” commandment (Matt. 22:36).
  • He told Pilate that Judas had committed the “greater sin” (John 19:11).
  • The Bible also speaks of the “greatest” virtue (I Cor. 13:13), -and even the “greater” acts of a given virtue–love (John 15:13).
  • Jesus said there are at least three levels of sins with corresponding judgments (Matt. 5:22).
  • The whole concept of degrees of punishment in hell (Matt. 5:22; Rom. 2:6; Rev. 20:12) and graded levels of regard in heaven (I Cor. 3:11-12) indicates that sins come in degrees.
  • The fact that some sins call for excommunication (I Cor. 5) and others for death (I Cor. 11:30) also supports the general biblical pattern that all sins are not equal in weight.
  • In fact, there is one sin so great as to be unforgivable (Mark. 3:29).
  • Perhaps the clearest indication of higher and lower moral laws comes in Jesus’ answer to the lawyer’s question about the “greatest commandment” (Matt. 22:34-35). Jesus clearly stated that the “first” and “greatest” is over the “second”–that loving God is of supreme importance, and then beneath it comes loving one’s neighbour. This same point is affirmed in Matt. 10:37.
  • See also Prov. 6:16; I Tim. 1:15; I John 5:16.

Oz
 

Edward

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Hi. So is it ever ok or good to lie? Let’s say that example where you are a German in Germany in a second world war and you are hiding Jews from nazis and the German soldiers come asking have you seen any Jews and you lie and say no in order to protect them from murder. Was that lie a good deed or bad deed?

My first thought is that of course this is a good deed here. But then I wonder if the Holy Spirit would ever lead us to lie in this fashion? So I think that if one had a good enough grasp of the language and sharp witted, that one does not need to lie. It is all in how we speak. Just don't give direct answers. Rather, be vague while asking them a question. For example, "If I am the enemy then I will say no, and if I am not the enemy then I would still say no, so, how can that question even be answered?"...and play it by ear.

Is it ok or good for police to lie when investigating? Police prevent a lots of serious crimes all the time and most of their work is based on deception for good purposes.

I say no to this. There's something wrong when it is legal for the police to lie to citizens but a felony for a citizen to lie to the police. Oh the initial idea was ok, lie to criminals to gain their trust and work towards gathering evidence to convict them. That sounds noble on it's face, but the police have taken to lying to everyone. So no wonder there's a divide between the police and the people.

Is it ok for soldiers to deceive in order to defend the country. Is it ok for them to sneak up on enemy and spy and cary out secret attacks? How about camouflage?

This is not lying! This is warfare and deception is a stratagem of war. All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.

Is it ok for us to lie in order to save ourselves from unjust treatment?

Not according to scripture.

So basically my question is: Can it ever be said that lie is ok? or can it be ever said that lie is good?

So my conclusion is only in war is deception good and even necessary. But there is a day coming, where wars will pass away...and the need for deception also.
 

wondering

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Hi everyone, I’ve copied the following from one of my other threads that I posted somewhere else but didn’t get many answers:

Hi. So is it ever ok or good to lie? Let’s say that example where you are a German in Germany in a second world war and you are hiding Jews from nazis and the German soldiers come asking have you seen any Jews and you lie and say no in order to protect them from murder. Was that lie a good deed or bad deed?

Is it ok or good for police to lie when investigating? Police prevent a lots of serious crimes all the time and most of their work is based on deception for good purposes.

Is it ok for soldiers to deceive in order to defend the country. Is it ok for them to sneak up on enemy and spy and cary out secret attacks? How about camouflage?

Is it ok for us to lie in order to save ourselves from unjust treatment?

So basically my question is: Can it ever be said that lie is ok? or can it be ever said that lie is good?

Thanks
Of course it's OK to lie at times.
Sometimes telling the truth is the worst thing you could do.
 

OzSpen

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Of course it's OK to lie at times.
Sometimes telling the truth is the worst thing you could do.

wondering,

Are you at liberty to she an example or two of where telling the truth could be the worst thing to do?

Oz
 

Quantrill

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wondering,

Are you at liberty to she an example or two of where telling the truth could be the worst thing to do?

Oz

A good example is one I already gave with Rahab the harlot. (Joshua 2:3-7)

Had she told the truth the spies would have been killed. Would she then be guilty of their deaths?

We live in a fallen world and are put in situations where at times there is no 'legally' way out.

If you say she was still wrong in lying, I would say I would rather be wrong in lying here, than guilty of these men's deaths.

And, the Lord never condemned her lie. In fact, I would say approval was given for her act. (James 2:25)

Quantrill
 

OzSpen

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Of course it's OK to lie at times.
Sometimes telling the truth is the worst thing you could do.

wondering,

I had a situation about 4 years ago when I confided in an elder of the church about what was happening in my marriage. As an elder, he makes a commitment to confidentiality. My then wife phoned his wife to ask if I was visiting with the elder. Sadly, the elder's wife broke my confidentiality by telling my wife that's where I was.

The elder's wife's excuse was she could not tell a lie. I emailed her to say that as an elder's wife she also has an obligation of confidentiality. She could have said to my wife: "I'm an elder's wife and he is sworn to confidentiality. So am I."

I told her I wouldn't take it further and go to the elders' meeting about the matter, but that response by the elder's wife knocked me for a six (a particularly British or Aussie saying).

Oz
 
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