It’s never right to deceive someone or some persons with malicious intent. Exodus 20:16 reads, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” (ESV). And so you should never provide false legal testimony against your countrymen. It hurts society and dishonors God.
But what about hiding someone’s surprise birthday party? What about pretending Santa is real? What about feints in warfare (2 Sam 2:22–25)? What about protecting someone from a murderous mob, that is, to hide a Jewish person from the SS in WWII Europe? Is it ever right to mislead another person?
Added to this, is it a lie to be wrong? In other words, if you give directions and say “turn left” but you should actually turn right. Did you lie? In this case, we use the category of mistake. But this opens up an interesting possibility: You can speak an untruth (go left) that misleads someone (they go to the wrong location) and yet not be a liar, a sinner. You just made a mistake.
So, are there other occasions when it is okay to mislead someone? [Read more…] about Is It Ever Right to Lie?