What a strange question you may ask. The answer should be simple. But I propose that it is far more complicated than at first glance.
The phone rings and you or your husband or wife answers.
“Hello Sam, how are you?” Your wife or husband is waving to you and mouthing ‘No.”
“Well, Sam, he is not here.” (Meaning he’s not at this exact spot, he is 10 feet away)
Or, “He is unavailable at the moment.” (Meaning he just doesn’t want to talk to you)
Your boss says, “Did you do the paper work on that project?”
You reply, “Oh, yes it’s all done.’ (Meaning it’s done in my mind and I’ll get it done before he finds out)
Someone gives you an awful gift yet you tell him or her how wonderful it really is. (Meaning the idea of the gift was wonderful, not the gift)
The pastor preaches about not breaking the law yet speeds to church and jokes about it with the deacons.
How many times a day or a week, do you speak or infer things that are not true?
You say to someone you will do something, and then don’t do it.
“I’ll meet you (at a certain time) and you don’t. Did you lie?
We have all been shocked to know the false business reports that huge American companies have given out to keep stock prices up. Yes, how many times do we give false impressions that things are true or false and know it is not so. Is to infer something that is not true but not really say it’s not true, a lie? Should we give the wrong impression about something a lie?
You know the car or truck you are selling has a bad problem but the buyer does not know it. You infer that the auto is in great shape. Did you lie?
Governments lie all the time. A candidate running for office says things people want to hear and then once in office forgets the promises they made.
Some people start small and the lie grows until there are people that now believe their own lies to be the truth!
What about lying in the Bible?
Well, we have some interesting things in the Holy Book.
In Genesis the 12th chapter verses 10 to 17, Abraham says his wife is his sister and Pharaoh is about to marry her. The Pharaoh pours great wealth upon Abraham. Then the truth comes out. Abraham leaves with his wife back and great wealth!
In Genesis the 20th chapter, Abraham tells King Abimelech that his wife is his sister and the king feels free to marry her. Later when the truth comes out consider Abraham’s answer.
“But indeed she is truly my sister. She is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife. And it came to pass, when God caused me to wander from my father’s house, that I said to her, ‘This is your kindness that you should do for me: in every place, wherever we go, say of me, “He is my brother.”‘
Because of fear he came up with this twist.
Yet, even in spite of this God had “Abraham’ pray ‘for’ King Abimelech and then God healed the King.
Later in the Bible God names Abraham in the great list of men and women of faith. (Hebrews 11th chapter in the Bible) Even Jesus speaks of being in Heaven as like being in Abraham’s arms.
In Genesis the 26th chapter we have Abraham’s son Isaac lying about his wife claiming she too was his sister, as he feared for his life thinking the men would kill him. Guess he had learned this from his father. He went into the land poor and saying his wife was his sister, yet read these words:
“Then Isaac sowed in that land, and reaped in the same year a hundredfold; and the LORD blessed him. The man began to prosper, and continued prospering until he became very prosperous; for he had possessions of flocks and possessions of herds and a great number of servants.’
Later in the Book of Joshua Chapter 1 we have the story of how Rahab the Harlot (prostitute) lied to protect the spies that were sent out into the Promised Land. Here is what God says about her.
“By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days. By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace.” (Hebrews 11:30-31 in the Holy Bible) She is listed in this great chapter of champions of faith.
This is a tough passage:
“But when the children of Israel cried out to the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer for them: Ehud the son of Gera, the Benjamite, a left-handed man. By him the children of Israel sent tribute to Eglon king of Moab. Now Ehud made himself a dagger (it was double-edged and a cubit in length) and fastened it under his clothes on his right thigh. So he brought the tribute to Eglon king of Moab. (Now Eglon was a very fat man.) And when he had finished presenting the tribute, he sent away the people who had carried the tribute. But he himself turned back from the stone images that were at Gilgal, and said,
“I have a secret message for you, O king.”
He said, “Keep silence!” And all who attended him went out from him.
So Ehud came to him (now he was sitting upstairs in his cool private chamber). Then Ehud said,
“I have a message from God for you.”
So he arose from his seat. Then Ehud reached with his left hand, took the dagger from his right thigh, and thrust it into his belly. Even the hilt went in after the blade, and the fat closed over the blade, for he did not draw the dagger out of his belly; and his entrails came out. Then Ehud went out through the porch and shut the doors of the upper room behind him and locked them.
When he had gone out, Eglon’s servants came to look, and to their surprise, the doors of the upper room were locked. So they said, “He is probably attending to his needs in the cool chamber.” So they waited till they were embarrassed, and still he had not opened the doors of the upper room. Therefore they took the key and opened them. And there was their master, fallen dead on the floor.
But Ehud had escaped while they delayed, and passed beyond the stone images and escaped to Seirah. And it happened, when he arrived, that he blew the trumpet in the mountains of Ephraim, and the children of Israel went down with him from the mountains; and he led them. Then he said to them, “Follow me, for the LORD has delivered your enemies the Moabites into your hand.” So they went down after him, seized the fords of the Jordan leading to Moab, and did not allow anyone to cross over. And at that time they killed about ten thousand men of Moab, all stout men of valor; not a man escaped. So Moab was subdued that day under the hand of Israel. And the land had rest for eighty years.
(Judges 3:15-30 in the Holy Bible)
I will not expound on people like David and others who also lied but were greatly blessed.
How do we work all this out?
Well, let’s look at a few scriptures.
“You shall not steal, nor deal falsely, nor lie to one another. And you shall not swear by My name falsely, nor shall you profane the name of your God: I am the LORD.’ (Leviticus 19:11-12 in the Holy Bible)
In the Ten Commandments it says ‘not to bear false witness’.
Later in the Bible it says,
“You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
(John 8:32 in the Holy Bible)
“Jesus said unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
(John 14:6 in the Holy Bible)
Now we know that the Bible teaches Truth not lies. It teaches us to tell the truth and not lie. Of these there cannot be doubt.
How do we apply it to our daily life?
How do we live in truth and function in life?
“But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ for whatever is more than these is from the evil one.’
(Matthew 5:37 in the Holy Bible)
When can you lie?
To save a life?
Was it right to lie and hide a Jew from the Nazis?
Is it ok to lie to keep from hurting someone?
Should one always tell the truth?
Is it ok to be less than honest?
aletheia ^225^, “truth,” is used objectively, signifying “the reality lying at the basis of an appearance; the manifested, veritable essence of a matter”
(Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words)
(Copyright (C) 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers)
Some of you are uncomfortable with this, but this is what I want to do. Stimulate your thoughts to deal with this subject.
I tried to give you a few scriptures that will provoke your heart and mind.
All I can do is fall on my face and say “Lord have mercy on me a sinner’.
I want to speak and live in Truth.
Jesus is the Truth and I want to be in Him always.
The only way to be truly clean is through the Blood of Jesus shed when He died on the cross for our sins.
Jesus lives and will cleanse you now.
The scripture I have used is in the Bible. This is a deeply profound subject. It is something we all must deal with. May we somehow control our tongue that we do not lie. Before we point at others I pray this causes us to look at ourselves.
Peace and blessing.
Pilgrim followers of Jesus,
Arthur and Denise Blessitt
P.S. I touched on several scriptures that many wish were not in the Bible. But it’s God’s Word and we must deal with all of it. He IS!