Are all 'lies' sin?
Is the motive behind not telling the truth the thing that makes lying a sin from the Biblical context?
I think you're train of thought is a good one (regarding motive). For instance, during the holocaust, families harboring Jews to keep them safe would lie to authorities, if they showed up at their door. The motive was to protect the Jews from certain death.
Now, in court, when one takes an oath to 'tell the whole truth, nothing but the truth, so help me, God', lying is not an option for any reason. A guilty party should not lie to protect him/herself from the consequences of their wrong-doing. This branches over into relationships, when one has betrayed the other and is claiming that lying 'protected' the other person from the pain of their wrong-doing. The liar should own up!
Then, there are situations when a person knows something told to them in confidence and when asked about it, has to decide whether to divulge that information or remain silent. In court, however, this information should be shared.
We could look at the command 'Thou shalt not kill' in comparison. There are different types and motives for ending a life (i.e. murder or war; sport or hunger, etc.). Certainly, no one should kill someone else for convenience/revenge/justice. That is the decision of the courts and utimately, God.
All of these situations point to motive, and I believe that is what God judges.
This was my thought exactly. Now I don't lie but I keep coming across accounts in the bible where untruths are told, to deceive the ungodly typically, and there's no reprimand. See Elisha's deception in 2 Kings 19.
Anything that is not out of faith is sin, and lying is sinful. Why because of the intention of the heart. If you know is wrong why do it. God bless
I don't think motive is what makes it a sin or not. Often times folks try to justify lying by telling themselves they don't want to hurt someone's feelings or make a bad situation any worse. White lies, big lies, little lies, they are all not the truth and when someone lies they are attempting to cover up the facts and deceive another. Satan is the ultimate deceiver and the author of all lies, so "yes" the way I see it, all lies are sinful. It is better to tell the truth, keep silent, or plead the fifth. Honesty is a virtue, but lies are a web and a snare that results in trouble. God is all knowing, and can't be fooled by anyone, so we should always guard our tongues and make sure the words that flow from our lips are truthful.
How do you account for the harlot Rehab covering up Jewish spies and then intentionally misleading her own kinsmen about their whereabouts. She was praised in Hebrews for her faith yet her actions in doing so included lying.
Tajman - Technically as they were on the roof and not inside, did she really lie when she said they had left?
Cathleena, even if we go with this, she also said that the left at dusk and she had no idea where they went all this while they were hidden in her roof. No technicalities there.
I know there are times when telling the truth can cause harm. I still believe that God does not condone lying. The praise Rehab received was from the Hebrew people who are human and who's ways are different than God's ways.
Cathleena, interesting perspective but I can't agree with that though. The praise she received was from two writers in the NT who were inspired by God to reveal His Holy Word. There are also other "acceptable" lies in the OT. 2 Kings 19 for Elisha's.
Looks like we will just have to agree to disagree on this one.
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