Is it ever right to lie?

Question: "Is it ever right to lie?"

It is never right to lie. The ninth commandment prohibits bearing false witness (Exodus 20:16). Proverbs 6:16-19 lists “a lying tongue” and “a false witness who pours out lies” as two of the seven abominations to the Lord. Love “rejoices with the truth” (1 Corinthians 13:6). See also (Psalm 119:29, 163; 120:2; Proverbs 12:22; 13:5; Ephesians 4:25; and Colossians 3:9.)

There are many examples of liars in Scripture, from Jacob’s deceit in Genesis 27 to the pretense of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5. Time after time, we see that falsehood leads to misery, loss, and judgment.

Sometimes a question arises concerning lies that seem to have positive results. For example, the lie the Hebrew midwives tell Pharaoh seems to result in the Lord’s blessing (Exodus 1:15-21). However, it should be obvious that the Lord is blessing the midwives’ rescue of the children, rather than any falsehood they told. God in His mercy blessed them in spite of the lie, notbecause of it.

Another example is Rahab’s lie in Joshua 2:5. God never condones her lie, but He does forgive it. Rahab’s life is spared in response to her faith, which she expresses in verses 9-11. God not only forgives Rahab’s lying, but also her idolatry and harlotry—another example of God’s mercy in action.

Recommended Resource: Overcoming Sin and Temptation by John Owen.

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How can I overcome sin in my Christian life?

What does the Bible say about procrastination?

Is it a sin to cuss / swear / curse?

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Is it ever right to lie?