Is lying ever justified for Christians?
Is is ok for Christians to tell white lies? Is lying ever justified?
I think there is a general presumption against lying for the following reasons:
lying undermines relationships and trust (friends and family)
lying violates the dignity of the person you are lying to
lying violates the golden rule
lying elevates the ego of the lier above the interests of the person being lied to
I think if you use the middle two as a filter, you can carve out an exception for lying when you are trying to do good for the person (or if the person you are lying to has a bad intent–another person or group of people) vs. trying to do good for yourself (Realize thats a simplified version for “dignity” and “the golden rule”).
This is actually consistent with Biblical teaching. The priority Jesus puts on love for your fellow human being and God as the most important commandment in the sermon on the mount is relatively consistent with the principle outlined above.
* One caveat: I’m no theologian and I’m not particularly well studied in Biblical interpretation….but the above is a rough sketch of what I think….