Part 3 of 3
The Devil Tells The Truth, Sometimes
Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices,
The apostle Paul warns us how nonbelievers consistently stand the truth on its head. As the prophet Isaiah said (5:20) “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” Like Christ’s crown of thorns, they take the truth of God, twist it into a lie and proceed to push it into our brains. The apostle Paul in Romans 1 put it this way; “…they exchange the truth of God for a lie.” The Ten Commandments are a case in point.
However, when a war breaks out, a lot of things have to go the wall, temporarily, pushed to the side of the road. For example; you shall not kill; you shall not steal; you shall not lie; do not apply in times of all-out war. War is built upon the very opposite of these moralities.
Think of the hoax that General Montgomery pulled over the eyes of General Rommel in the desert during WWII. Montgomery had about 2,000 dummy tanks, made of wood and canvas, positioned well to the south of the proposed point of his main attack. There he had 1,000 real tanks disguised as trucks. He also had the appearance a fake water pipeline built to supply the fake British armies with much needed water. German spy planes tracked it all from the air and fell for it like the generals of Troy fell for the hoax of the Trojan horse. It was all built on deception and lies and appearances and misinformation, much like games of football and basketball. The successful deceptive ruse helped win the decisive battle of El-Alamein in North Africa paved the way for the victory of D-Day.
I recall a story told to me many years ago as a young Christian that troubled me for a very long time. It was about a devout believer during the IIWW who was asked by enemy soldiers if he knew where certain people were hiding. Not wanting to die with a lie upon his lips he told where they were. The Nazi’s found them and killed them as a result his telling the truth. If he would have told a lie they would have lived. What do you do?
We see a story very similar to this in Joshua 2:5 where Rahab lied to Israel’s enemies to protect the twelve spies hiding in her house. “I do not know where the men went. Pursue them quickly, for you will overtake them.” Rehab’s telling the truth here would have caused a great evil; lying was the only acceptable option for the greater good. Her intentions were pure. Surely such instances are rare but they do happen.
To solve crimes undercover law enforcement agents are required to conceal facts by diversion and extract information by deception. National or personal security (leaving your lights on when you go away) often depends upon it. Likewise, if a burglar breaks in and asks if there is money hidden in your house; as a Christian you need not answer “yes.” Such are not lies, because they do nothing perverse or impious to break your Christian faith or hurt another.
Love “rejoices with the truth” I Cor. 13:6
Ananias and Sapphira lied regarding a donation in order to make themselves look more generous than they really were. Peter’s rebuke to them was stern: “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit?” Their lie was total self-serving hypocrisy, a conscious and intentional falsehood. The ninth commandment prohibits bearing false witness. Proverbs 6: 16-19 lists “a lying tongue” and “a false witness who pours out lies” as two of the seven things that God hates.
Scripture Does teach that it’s okay to lie in order to deceive a godless government and its godless henchmen.
Exodus 1 tells of the time that the people of Israel lived in Egypt and their nation grew so that the Pharaoh told the midwives to kill any baby boys that were born. But verse 17 says that the midwives feared God and did not do what the Pharaoh had asked. When he summoned them to ask why, they lied and said, “Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women. They are vigorous and give birth before the midwives arrive.” And verse 20 tells how God felt about their deception. It says, “So God was kind to the midwives…” A more modern day example of this can be found in the life experiences of Corrie Ten Boom. In her book The Hiding Place Corrie tells of her father, a devout Christian man who hid Jews in his home and helped smuggle them out of the country under the noses of the Nazis. His pastor came by and urged him not to do these things, saying, “Christians must obey the law.” But, Father Ten Boom responded by saying that Christians are to obey God first, above any human law that conflicts with His laws.
A second principle to remember is this: It is not always essential for us to tell the truth.
People are often unnecessarily hurt by the insensitive and callous remarks many make…even if they ARE true. I mean, I realize that often the truth hurts but it is not always necessary to tell the truth. Learn the power of “No!” Like, Question; “May I ask you why?” Answer, “No, You may not!”
A courteous elderly lady once said to a little girl, “How do you do, my dear?” The little girl replied, “Quite well, thank you.” After a long pause the woman asked, “Why don’t you ask me how I am?” The girl just paused a moment and then said, “Because I’m not interested.”
Ephesians 4:29 says that the only words that should come out of our mouths are words that are, “ …good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.“ In other words, we should Build up or Shut Up. If the truth hurts in a way that does not build up the person…does not help the person…it should not be told. We love to confuse honesty with frankness. But there is some truth that we don’t need to be forthright about and should just keep to ourselves. Someone put it this way: “Honesty means that everything you say must be true, not that everything that is true must be said.”
Neither does telling the truth mean divulging everything that is in your heart. Many things are nobody’s business but your own. However, if it involves someone in authority whose right it is to know, such as a parent or a boss or if you’re testifying in court on a witness stand before a judge that again is different. The judge is expecting to hear “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”
The key point is thus; when we DO need to share a painful truth that benefits a person and helps them to mature, our words should be intertwined with love and kindness.
Ephesians 4:15 says, “Instead, Speaking The Truth In Love, we will in all things grow up into Him Who is the Head, that is, Christ.”
But Here Is The Greatest Lie: to say we don’t need God’s forgiveness for the times that we have broken His commandments. I John 1:8,10 says, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us….If we claim we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar and his Word has no place in our lives.”
But I John 1:9 contains this wonderful promise, “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
He’s Only a Prayer Away!