Is it Ever OK to Lie?


My younger daughter is reading the book Shiloh as part of her schoolwork. Shiloh is about a little boy and a dog. The dog is being mistreated by its owner, so when the boy finds the dog wandering around one day, he takes the dog and hides him. Then the boy lies to his parents and the dog's owner, and he justifies it by saying that Jesus would want him to rescue the dog because He wouldn't want one of His animals to be mistreated.

This book has led to a few interesting discussions with my daughter about lying. We've been talking about whether it's OK for the boy in this story to tell lies to achieve a greater good. And we've been talking about his justification for lying. The question we've been trying to answer is "Is it ever OK to tell a lie? Do the ends sometimes justify the means?"

The truth is that the ends don't always justify the means. God says, "Do not lie." That's what He means. He doesn't say, "Don't lie unless it's a really good cause."

My daughter and I talked about lying yesterday, and we came to the conclusion that God always provides us with an answer to our problems that won't require us to break His commandments. Even when it seems there's no way out of a sticky situation that will honor God and solve the situation, there is. We just have to listen to what God has to say.

It's so easy for our kids to get caught in the trap of walking outside of God's plan because they think they are making a choice that benefits either themselves or other people. But the truth is that the only good choices are the ones made inside of God's plan for us. When we make choices based on God's design, on His commandments, and on Jesus' example, we will find that God's plan is way better than anything we can come up with on our own.

As our kids grow, we need to be diligent in showing them how to find God's plan -- even in the sticky situations. Psalm 100:5 tells us that "his faithfulness continues through all generations." God is faithful to always provide us with a path to follow that leads to Him. He never leaves us. He never puts us in a situation with no way out. He is faithful.

Knowing that God is faithful allows us to follow His commandments without worrying that things will turn out badly if we do. God has a plan, and He doesn't need us to ignore His commands and His direction to make that plan work. No matter how bleak the situation looks, if we stick with God's plan, He will use it for good in the end.

Our kids need to know that even though they may face situations when lying or stealing or acting unkindly may seem like the only answer, God has a plan. He's got the situation under control. He's not going to ask them to go against His commands in any situation. God is faithful to provide us with everything we need to deal with a sticky situation -- even if what He provides is simply enough grace to get through the moment.