Date:  9/21/11

Author: Bruce W. Roeser

Key Text: Rom 6:1-2

Is it OK – to tell a “white” lie?  How about “social” lies?  Is it OK to lie “just a little bit” to save big money?  Let’s look at a few situations that are all too familiar today.  

Situation 1

A 14-year-old girl is going to be making a trip on the airlines to visit some relatives. The ticket is bought months ahead of the trip for a fairly negotiated rate.  As the trip approaches it is learned that in order for this child to fly by herself an additional fee must be paid so the airline can look after the child. It occurs to the parents that the child is nearing the age of 15 – it will only be 2 months and she will be 15, so they tell the airline that the child is 15-years old to save avoid the service charge.

Situation 2

2 parents are taking the kids to the zoo for the afternoon.  Upon arriving at the zoo they discover that the cutoff age for the “child” price of admission is 12-years old.  One of the kids (the oldest) is 13.  The father tells the ticket booth that he is 12 years old in order to get the lower price for the child’s admission.

Situation 3

A business man who works for a large corporation does some consulting on the side once-in-awhile.  Besides the considerable salary he makes he generates a reasonably good income in this side business, however he does the side business for “cash under the table” and doesn’t bother to report this income on his taxes.  His rationale:  “The government gets enough of my money as it is”.

Situation 4

An employee wants to take a day off but has used all of his vacation time.  On a particular day he wants to go fishing instead of going into work so he calls in “sick” then goes fishing.  His rationale: “They wouldn’t give us sick days if they didn’t want us to use them!”

Situation 5

An individual wants a new game for his computer but doesn’t have the money for it.  So, instead of saving up for awhile (as he would have to do with anything else he wants) he borrows a friend’s copy and makes a copy for himself – the rationale being that the big rich company that made the game won’t miss one copy!

Though I only outline a few situations here I think it’s safe to say that it would be easy to come up with a whole lot more.  

We are a nation (world) of liars.  We have become very adept at it – deception is one of our most finely tuned abilities.  The question, however, is how are we to behave as saints of the Most High God?  How much lying is “acceptable” behavior in the life of a believer?  Is it a matter of degree?  Let’s look at some scripture and let HIM do the talking.


Ecc 5:4-5  When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. 5  Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.

Eze 22:12-13  In thee have they taken gifts to shed blood; thou hast taken usury and increase, and thou hast greedily gained of thy neighbours by extortion, and hast forgotten me, saith the Lord GOD. 13. Behold, therefore I have smitten mine hand at thy dishonest gain which thou hast made, and at thy blood which hath been in the midst of thee.

Eze 22:27  Her princes in the midst thereof are like wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood, and to destroy souls, to get dishonest gain.

Luk 8:15  But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.

Act 6:3  Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.

Rom 12:17  Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.

Rom 13:13  Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.

2Co 4:1  Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;  2  But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.

2Co 8:20-21  Avoiding this, that no man should blame us in this abundance which is administered by us: 21  Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.

2Co 13:7  Now I pray to God that ye do no evil; not that we should appear approved, but that ye should do that which is honest, though we be as reprobates.

Php 4:8  Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

1Th 4:7-12  For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. 8  He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit. 9  But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another. 10  And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren which are in all Macedonia: but we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more; 11  And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; 12  That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.

1Ti 2:1-2  I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2  For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

Heb 13:17-18  Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you. 18  Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly.

1Pe 2:12  Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.

It is safe to say (from the above references) that honesty is preferable.  Next … what does the scripture have to say about lying?  Let’s see if we can detect some kind of degree of lying – whether it says anything about “social” lying or “white” lies?

Liars and Lying

1Ti 1:9-11  Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10  For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; 11  According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.

Comment:  Notice that liars are listed on an equivalent level with murderers!

Tit 1:12  One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies.

Rev 2:2  I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:

Rev 21:8  But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

Pro 24:28  Be not a witness against thy neighbour without cause; and deceive not with thy lips.

Rom 16:17-18  Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. 18  For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.

Eph 5:6-10  Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. 7  Be not ye therefore partakers with them. 8  For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: 9  (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) 10  Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.

2Ti 3:12-15  Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. 13  But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. 14  But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; 15  And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which ae able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.