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When, if ever, is lying acceptable?

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February 21, 2020

This had become a major issue with my fiance and I, especially to me, in light of Revelation 21:8. She thinks that if you "lie" for the sake of a joke or a surprise, for example, it is different from lying, and is not a sin. She has also lied about me to protect her parents' opinion of me (they are Russian Baptists, if that means anything in this context). However, when I asked her on the couch weeks ago if she had done a certain thing (not sex) with her ex-boyfriend, she looked me straight in the eyes and lied to me, fearing my anger, and I only finally dug out the truth yesterday. My concern is, maybe the "little lies" for surprises etc. And the "moderate" lies (which I'm quite sure are sin) for a "good cause" like protecting my reputation are numbing her conscience, and leading her to tell serious bold-face lies when there is a strong enough motivator. And also for myself and others, it is important to have a clear understanding about what is sin and what isn't. So, can someone drop some biblical RPC wisdom on me here about where to draw the line?

Post Information
Title When, if ever, is lying acceptable?
Author Sigma-Angel_of_Death
Upvotes 6
Comments 12
Date 21 February 2020 05:42 AM UTC (1 year ago)
Subreddit askRPC
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[–]Willow-girl3 points4 points  (4 children) | Copy

Run, run away! Do you want to go through life with a partner where you're constantly second-guessing everything they say, because you don't know if it's the truth or not? Do you want your children to develop this tendency, too?

[–]Praexology0 points1 point  (3 children) | Copy

What are you seriously recommending here?

[–]Willow-girl0 points1 point  (2 children) | Copy

I'm recommending that you don't tie yourself to someone who plays fast and loose with the truth. Imagine the misery of never being sure that your partner is being honest with you ...

[–]awesomechristiansex0 points1 point  (1 child) | Copy

Agreed. A long term relationship to someone who will lie like this is not likely to go well. You mentioned she was scared of your anger... if you are not a safe place for her or are verbally, mentally, or physically abusive, then her lying out of realistic fear of you makes sense (similar to Rahab lying about the Israelite spies). However, if you merely meant she didn't want to face the truth by taking responsibility (and possibly repenting, etc.) for what she did, then that sounds like a lying problem similar to a young child. I don't want to be married to someone like that and highly advise against it. See /r/divorce and similar for what it looks like after the lies stack up from one spouse not taking responsibility over being truthful.

[–]awesomechristiansex0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Also, a good "line in the sand" regarding lies and deception - if a lie or deception is honorable, I do not see it as a sin (see Bible for many examples). If the lie is to cover up a sin and not repent, or causes harm to an (honorable) person, etc., then it is sinful and should be repented of openly, thoroughly, and genuinely.

I believe our english language is too limited and vague with words on this subject. Similar to "love" vs the 7 words for 7 different types of love in Greek. So realizing that Yahweh is love and loves mankind, while Lucifer is the father of lies/deceipt and hates mankind; discerning the heart and correponding source of whatever is spoken or done is often necessary to determine if something is sinful or not.

[–]markreadsred2 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy

I think there is a line between lying and deception. Where as lying is a misrepresentation of the truth or a denial of the truth, deception can be positive.

Telling a fictional story is deception. watching a movie is deception. Thor and Cap'n america don't exist per say so depictions of them in the MCU isn't truth the way history is even as subjectively as history can be viewed.

I say this as a footnote to the idea that Jesus told several parables that we have zero credible proof were real events he was recalling as fact or history. Jesus being the God who hates Liars and Lying tongues, would be a liar under a lot of peoples conceptions of lying these days.

Did Jesus lie here or did he use deception to illustrate a point or to achieve a morally positive goal.

If your partner is saying things you know are untrue, then they are lying. If they are they are saying things they think are true but you know are untrue they are lying but not by volition.

If they are making up things that they aren't clarifying as fiction then whether they are lying or not can not be known unless proved to be anything but fiction.

Does that help.

[–]Perfect_Squ4re1 point2 points  (2 children) | Copy

It never is. As it's stated in Proverbs, "The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy."

But what if the lies are white lies? They're just harmless right? No. There is a reason why God does not want us to lie, it's because your lies harm you. Let me elaborate.

Telling lies, even when convenient in the short term sabotages your charisma, conviction and confidence within yourself. You think: Nobody gets hurt, it's fine. But no, deep down you know that you're being dishonest. Over time, these lies add up to a point where subconsciously you tell yourself that you cannot be trusted. That you don't have impeccable integrity. So anytime your character is brought into question, there is a moment of doubt in your subconscious mind.

This doubt translates to uncertainty over all aspects in your life. It undercuts your ability to communicate with conviction. Since subconsciously you see yourself as someone who cannot be trusted: when you talk your tonality shows, when you walk/stand your body language shows. You broadcast to the world that "don't believe me. I can't be trusted". This destroys your charisma/likability.

The solution is to tell the truth at all times. Even if it's inconvenient. This is hard. Very hard. But if you do this, your brain starts telling yourself that you're a trustworthy person, that you're honest no matter what. When you speak, you speak with sureness. When you make eye contact, you make strong eye contact. When you move, you move like you believe in yourself. When you talk, people naturally trust you since your sub-communication tells the world that you can be trusted.

This is why I believe God tells us to not lie. Remember, the second sin that man did was lie to God and for that reason we were banished from the garden. By lying we cut away our conviction, thus destroying our charisma. Get into the habit of telling the truth no matter what- even when it's hard, even when it's inconvenient to you. Do this and you will transform your life, people will suddenly treat you better, people will be more open to you. Even new people are more likely to trust you. Go and live a life of integrity.

[–]Sigma-Angel_of_Death[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Nice analysis. Telling the truth or "telling it like it is" is a mark of a high-status man, and it applies to all situations, not just the convenient ones.

[–]hopeunseen0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

It never is

Personally I'd disagree, BUT with the caveat that what proverbs is referring to as lying lips is not necessarily what we would classify as "lying" in all cases.

"The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy.

I'm not a scholar of ancient Hebrew so I might be completely wrong here, however given that proverbs are a collection of helpful sayings and truisms, and NOT verbatim commands, it's important to note the style of literature when we interpret this verse.

Each proverb is composed of a juxtaposition between the wise and the fool, or the righteous and the unrighteous. Therefore when we look at the juxtaposition of those who are trustworthy, this proverb is more referring to the antithesis of trust - Which would be deception. A little different from our english definition of "lying" which is more of a catch all for anything that is not the whole truth.

God detests those who willfully deceive others in a destructive way. If my child believes in Santa Clause or the Tooth Fairy, my upholding this charade while they are a child is not willfully destructive. Likewise protecting them from the FULL truth in a situation where they are not yet ready to handle it is also not willfully destructive - It's actually being protective and thinking proactively about their wellbeing before I open my mouth.

ex "Dad why did Mommy leave?" I don't have to tell my child "Because she was sleeping with the mailman" - And it's not wrong of me if I tell her something that is not the whole truth.

But for the most part, lying tends to be self serving, destructive deception, so more often than not it's probably wrong.

[–]Deep_Strength1 point2 points  (1 child) | Copy

One of the only places that affirms that God condoned lying in a specific circumstance.

Exodus 1:15 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.

The examples you stated are not in any way alike to lying to literally save lives.

Relationships/marriage can only be built on a foundation of truth, otherwise you question if anything they said may have been truthful or not. Lying is a bright red flag to me that would make me terminate a relationship prior to marriage.

However, you can bring it up and make it a teachable moment and see if she changes and it could work out in the long run. But I personally would not.

[–]Daisetsuu1160 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Same. Echo this man's words. I had a similar issue long ago, I was a bad case but I long since turned it around, I dropkicked the relationship to the floor pronto when I decided it was enough.

[–]hopeunseen1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

First off, her outright lying to you about a pretty innocent question is certainly a red flag... The fact that she's done it in other areas too adds weight to that.

Realize that the reason most of us here at RPC are here is because we've been burned by women in our past, and so you're going to get a harsher response here based on our experiences.

With that in mind however, let our experience serve to warn you away from making mistakes we learned about the hard way.

Your fiance is not yet your wife. You don't OWE her anything yet, and the worst possible thing you can do is proceed blindly into a marriage just hoping this won't be an issue. We only have the context you've given in 1 paragraph, so who knows, but certainly you've got to get to the bottom of why you aren't telling each other the truth (Your anger, her fear - One of those at least is an issue) and how much about her you don't know because she is protecting her image in your eyes until you can't get out. You can be 100% sure if she lied to protect your reputation with her parents, she's lying to protect her own reputation with you too.

This doesn't address your question, but as others have pointed out - It's the bigger issue here and the more important question you should be asking is "If she lied about this, what else is she lying about?" - And also "Do I want to give my life, my freedom, and my one shot at choosing an amazing partner to a woman I might not be able to trust?"

You're a man - Feel free to take this advice and consider or reject it.

In regards to your question, there are biblical examples of characters lying that are rewarded (Rahab protecting the Israelite spies, midwives for lying to the egyptians about killing the Israelite babies) but they are few and far between - There are far more examples of lies that result in destruction, broken relationships and suffering.

So as a general rule, it is better to be open honest and trustworthy.

As I commented below however, the Hebrew definition of "lying" could be different from our english version. It's possible when the bible refers to lying it is not referring to "white lies" that actually might benefit both parties (ie throwing a surprise party etc) but instead is referring to willfully harmful deception - Very big difference there. A key question to ask would be "is this lie for the benefit of the person I am speaking to, or is it for my own benefit?" if the answer is the latter, it is very likely a sin.

Don't take my word for it though - Look up the Hebrew definition, reference the different verses that use that word and decide for yourself. Don't ask others what to think about the bible and stop there - You need to study it and come to your own conclusions.

You can kill a man, but you can't kill an idea.

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