Sunday, February 13, 2011

Is it Ever Morally Licit to Lie?

Is it ever morally licit to lie?  As Christians we are taught that it is never okay to lie but is that really true?  We know that in the scriptures Jesus tells us that telling a lie is a sin but does he ever let us know that telling a lie is morally acceptable or even considered good in God's eyes?  For instance if a person is a part of a sting operation, such as the type that Lila Rose has been participating in, is it morally permissible to lie in order to catch a criminal?  Is it morally permissible for a person to lie in order to save a person's life, like those who lied to Nazis during World World II?  Do you think lying in these types of circumstances will harm your soul?  Or do you think that God would look upon you with favor since you saved or at least were trying to save an individual's life?  Even though lying may be acceptable in these circumstances do you think that taking part in confession would be in order?  Here are a couple Bible passages which show individuals lying for good reason:

Exodus 1: 15-20

15 The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiphrah and Puah, 16 “When you are helping the Hebrew women during childbirth on the delivery stool, if you see that the baby is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live.” 17 The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live. 18 Then the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and asked them, “Why have you done this? Why have you let the boys live?”
 19 The midwives answered Pharaoh, “Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women; they are vigorous and give birth before the midwives arrive.”
 20 So God was kind to the midwives and the people increased and became even more numerous. 21 And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own.

Joshua 2:2-14

 2 The king of Jericho was told, “Look, some of the Israelites have come here tonight to spy out the land.” 3 So the king of Jericho sent this message to Rahab: “Bring out the men who came to you and entered your house, because they have come to spy out the whole land.”
 4 But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them. She said, “Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they had come from. 5 At dusk, when it was time to close the city gate, they left. I don’t know which way they went. Go after them quickly. You may catch up with them.” 6 (But she had taken them up to the roof and hidden them under the stalks of flax she had laid out on the roof.) 7 So the men set out in pursuit of the spies on the road that leads to the fords of the Jordan, and as soon as the pursuers had gone out, the gate was shut.

8 Before the spies lay down for the night, she went up on the roof 9 and said to them, “I know that the LORD has given you this land and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. 10 We have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed. 11 When we heard of it, our hearts melted in fear and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the LORD your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.
 12 “Now then, please swear to me by the LORD that you will show kindness to my family, because I have shown kindness to you. Give me a sure sign 13 that you will spare the lives of my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them—and that you will save us from death.”
 14 “Our lives for your lives!” the men assured her. “If you don’t tell what we are doing, we will treat you kindly and faithfully when the LORD gives us the land.”

Since in one passage God was kind to the midwives, people multiplied and the other passage shows how Rahab believes in God and is delivered when Jericho is attacked one might conclude that it is morally licit to lie in some circumstances, albeit not the norm. 

1 comment:

Patrick Button said...

Certainly a difficult topic. I am not totally sure about the morality of the Live Action stings, but when there are other ways to combat abortion I would err on the side of truth.