The question above has been answered millions of times and remains debatable even today. There are some who believe that lying is alright as long as it doesn't hurt anyone, others who believe that the end justifies the means, and still others who believe that lying is always evil and a sin. I am sure there must be others in the world who can move beyond all three of these beliefs and find varying shades of what they deem to be "truth" about a lie or lying. Let's examine the big three.
The first belief: Lying is okay as long as it doesn't hurt anyone. Do you, dear reader, really subscribe to this as theory or accept it as fact? How would you determine whether or not a lie hurts someone? Do you think that there are different degrees of hurt that might be done to someone? What if a lie only hurt someone a little but not too much in our own estimation? Would that justify the lie. How would we know to what level the lie wounded someone we were lying to or about? What gauge would we use? It isn't something that we can just pass off as if it didn't really matter. Nobody likes to be hurt under any circumstances. Some people hide their hurts for various and sundry reasons, and want others to believe they were not hurt at all. What if this was the case with the lie you chose to tell? Others will show a little grief, but they don't want to let people know how deep the arrow went for whatever reason, and so they cover up most of the hurt and everyone thinks it's no big deal. What if the words you spoke went far deeper than you realize and caused someone to be so overwhelmed that they considered suicide? What if the wound went so deep that they decided they would attack you later when nobody could witness it and hurt you physically or even kill you? You would never know until the moment that the attack came, and then it would be too late to retract your lie. So lying is not okay as long as it doesn't hurt anyone because you cannot be sure that someone who is lied to or about hasn't been hurt by it or how much they have been hurt by it. So that theory should be laid to rest and should never be uttered again.
The second belief: The end justifies the means. There are some who believe that lying can be used for good. Let's say you told someone that they can put off getting right with God for a while because they are young and have a lot of time. That is a lie because none of us know how long we will live or when we will die. I defy anyone who will be honest to tell me the exact date you will die and the exact time and what experience you will have. You can't do it! Yet I have heard the above lie told to people time and time again. It gives a false hope to those who believe it. We know that even babies die in birth, that people die at all stages and ages of life, and that nobody knows in any way how long they have to live. But we will say, that if we tell that lie
the person will not have to be worried about death, and besides they are very young and the likelihood of them dying anytime soon is slim. Even if that is true, it cannot justify the lie to the
one person who dies at a young age. Do you think that if that person dies and finds himself or herself in Hell for neglecting to find out whether God exists and whether or not he will judge them in eternity they will be sorry that they believed that lie? Do you understand that they will never be able to do anything about it after they're dead? No matter how ugly truth may be to us at one point or another in life, it will never stop being truth no matter how much we wish otherwise, and especially where it concerns eternal matters. So then the false comfort does not justify the lie. Certainly there are far less serious consequences in respect to other lies told, but does that negate the fact that the lie will sometime catch up with us either in this life or on the day of judgement. You may well respond with what I believe to be another lie; "There is no God and so there will be no judgment." What if you are wrong and you and the person you lied to about this suddenly are face-to-face with eternity and find out God is more real than anyone or anything on this earth and you are terrified to know it but you are not able to change the fact that you died without doing something about it. How terrible will that lie be to you then? The end does not justify the means, and no argument on earth will change that and there will
be no argument in eternity.
The third belief: Lying is evil, and it is a sin. Here is the third argument and, sadly, the least believed one. Why is it that anyone would believe this? How can lying be evil? Well, you must answer that for yourself. How can it be sin? That depends on whether you accept the record of scripture found in the Bible. So the question here is not whether the statement is true or false
on its face value, but rather what you believe about the Bible and what it has to say about lying. What does the Bible say on this subject? Do you know or want to know? If not, why not? If so, what are you doing with it? I believe that there are Christians that lie just like any other person. Exaggerating is the same as lying and most of us are prone to exaggerating - aren't we? But I am not speaking about exaggeration in this article but rather I'm dealing with the issue of deliberately lying to someone no matter how big or small it may seem to be to the person who is telling the lie or even the person who is listening to the lie. So let's take a look at what the scripture says about lying because that is where the final argument comes from, and for the record, that is the argument I personally accept. There is no greater authority on lying or any other subject than God himself!
Proverbs 14:5 - "A Faithful witness will not lie, but a false witness will utter lies."
John 8:44 - (Jesus speaking to the Pharisees) - "You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning and abides not in truth because there is no truth in him. When he speaks of a lie, he speaks of his own, for he is a liar and the father of it." MY NOTE: If Satan is the father of all lies, then when we lie we are serving him.
Colossians 3:9 - (spoken to Christians) - "Lie not to one another seeing that you've put off the old man with his deeds." MY NOTE: The old man is the sinful past life.
1 John 2:21-22 - "I have not written to you because you know not the truth. but because you
Romans 3:4 - "Let God be true and every man a liar."
1 John 1:10 - "If we say that we have not sinned we make him (God) a liar and his word
is not in us."
1 John 2:4 - "He that says I know him (God) and doesn't keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him."
Revelation 21:8 - "But the fearful and unbelieving, and the abominable and murderers, and whore mongers and sorcerers, and idolaters and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone which is the second death." MY NOTE: This does not mean everyone who ever told a lie, but those who continue living in lies and die unrepentant without Christ.
So here are strong words about lying contained in the Bible, Special attention should be given to
1 John 1:10. Calling God a liar is something that I would never want to be guilty of. Imagine coming into his Holy presence on judgment day and answering for that one!
Romans 3:4 holds the truth because every man is a liar in one or more instances in his life. I strongly believe that "More than one" is not difficult to believe. It only takes one lie to make someone a liar. The standard of the Bible is absolute truthfulness for the Christian, and even if he exaggerates he is supposed to repent of it and get it told right.
So three choices are prevalent in our teaching and thinking depending on where we grew up, who was teaching us, what kind of environment we grew up in, and perhaps other factors that I fail to mention. Which of the three do you choose to believe and accept and act on? After all, we all
act on what we choose to believe whether we are consciously aware of it or not. Remember that there are always going to be some consequences to all our choices, but then that could be one more statement that is up for consideration isn't it?
I wouldn't lie to you!
C. R. Lord © 2015