when is a lie not a sin

Today I received a text message on my phone concerning a child’s toy that I had posted for sale on Craigslist. The text asked me if it was still for sale. A few text messages later the sender began asking for my name, my wife’s name, my children’s ages, etc. I promptly told them the item was sold, and after the sender persisted I informed the sender that the conversation was over.

From now on, when posting items in the kids section of craigslist I will accompany the post with a lie:

My wife just divorced me, took the children, and now I am selling what toys I have left.

This is a definite lie. It is not even just a lie to a potential child molester, it is a lie to everyone who reads it. Is this immoral? Is it immoral to preemptively lie to give your children more security. No one except the most brainwashed Christian will say “yes”.

Lies are endorsed in the Bible. Not every lie, but lying under certain circumstances. God lies consistently to his enemies. He sends deceiving spirits. He uses deception in battle. He blesses those who lie to save the innocent. He crafts half-lies (1Sa 16:2 And Samuel said, How can I go? if Saul hear it, he will kill me. And the LORD said, Take an heifer with thee, and say, I am come to sacrifice to the LORD.). Again, Skeptics Annotated Bible (SAB) illustrates this beautifully.

What SAB fails to understand concerning lies, is that it is wrong to lie to your friends but it is blessed by God to lie to those wishing to hurt the innocent. Often the Bible passages concerning lies are very explicit about lying b

Exo 20:16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. [SAB conveniently leaves off the second half of this verse]

Lev 6:2 If a soul sin, and commit a trespass against the LORD, and lie unto his neighbour in that which was delivered him to keep, or in fellowship, or in a thing taken away by violence, or hath deceived his neighbour;

Lev 19:11 Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely, neither lie one to another.

Eph 4:25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another.

Other times they are implied:

Exo 23:1 Thou shalt not raise a false report: put not thine hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness.

Exo 23:7 Keep thee far from a false matter; and the innocent and righteous slay thou not: for I will not justify the wicked.

Of the times lying is flat out condemned, it is actually a rule of thumb, describing someone characterized by the sin, or using a figure of speech. If someone lies consistently to save the lives of others, such as Corrie ten Boom, they are not known as a liar, just as a soldier who kills the enemy consistently is not a murderer. Someone who lies to their friends, who lies for personal profit, such as the politician, that person is a liar just as someone who kills the innocent is a murderer. Sins define the sinner. Where there is no sin there is no sinner.

If one believes the Bible. If one believes that God does not sin. Then lying cannot possibly be always a sin. It is not wrong to lie to God’s enemies. It is not wrong to lie to those wishing to hurt you. It is wrong to lie to your neighbor.

About christopher fisher

The blog is meant for educational/entertainment purposes. All material can be used and reproduced in any length for any purpose as long as I am cited as the source.
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