|Good morning everyone,|
Our theme for this month: “Character and integrity”
Our Bible verse for today: “Lying lips are detestable to the Lord, but faithful people are his delight.” Proverbs 12:22 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Don’t abuse it”
This morning we will return to our discussion from yesterday regarding the theory of the righteous lie. Are there some situations when telling a lie is not only okay, but is actually the good and righteous thing to do? Or, is lying always wrong? Is the ninth commandment conditional, are there carve-outs and exceptions for it?
It’s a moral and ethical question that has been the subject of debate among Bible scholars much smarter than me for thousands of years. So, I’m not going to claim to have the definitive answer, but I will share my opinion with you.
When I look to Scripture, I see that there are some rare instances where a Biblical figure told an obvious lie, but it was clearly the right thing to do. That leads me to conclude that it is possible that you or I could find ourselves in a similar situation, and perhaps telling a lie would be the correct response for us too. However, I also see in Scripture that such situations were very rare and very extreme. They were life and death situations. The righteous lie wasn’t told as a matter of simple convenience for the individual, or for the sake of a non-critical issue or agenda.
I think that right there is the key to the righteous lie issue – is it a life-or-death situation? If you are an Egyptian midwife saving the lives of Hebrew babies; or if you are a prostitute named Rahab and you’re saving Jewish spies; or if you’re a German Christian protecting Jews from the Nazis; okay, go ahead and tell the lie. But if the situation doesn’t rise to that level of seriousness and urgency, then lying about it is almost certainly a sin, and claiming your lie to be a “righteous” lie would be an abuse of the righteous lie principle.
By way of example, back during the beginning of the COVID 19 pandemic, when nobody was really sure what we were dealing with or what the best measures were for protecting ourselves and others, many establishments such as stores, businesses, hospitals, and government offices had mask mandates. If you wanted to come into their facility, they required you to wear a face mask – unless you had a legitimate health issue (with a doctor’s order) that prevented you from wearing a mask.
A tactic was quickly developed by those opposed to masks to claim they had such a health issue, when in fact they did not. They were lying, but they believed they were justified in telling the lie. Even Christians did this, believing it to be a righteous lie. In my opinion, that was an abuse of the righteous lie principle. It was not a life-and-death issue for that person. If you didn’t want to wear a mask, fine – state your position, don’t wear the mask, and deal as best you can with the consequences of your choice. But don’t lie about it.
Is there such a thing as a “righteous” lie? I think so. There are examples of it in the Bible. But in the Bible, it was rare and for extreme situations. The overwhelming weight of Scripture compels us to tell the truth, and to do so, whether telling the truth is convenient or not. We’ll think more about this tomorrow.
|Copyright © 2022 Oak Hill Baptist Church, All rights reserved.|