Proverbs 12:22 reads, “The Lord hates lying lips, but those who speak the truth are His joy.”   Is this an always statement?  Are there ever times when the truth is not the wisest path?  When we greet someone and they say, “How are you?”  Do we have to tell them about our aches and pains, especially when we know they don’t really want to know?  Is saying, “Fine.  Thanks for asking.” all right because it is merely a way of saying, “Hello?”

Several decades ago we belonged to a church where one of the saints loved to sing solos during the worship hour.  It was beyond pretty bad.  One day her husband asked my wife if the song was good.  My wife say, “Oh, yes.”  It bothered her all week and so the next week when she saw the husband she said, “I am so sorry I lied.  It wasn’t good at all.”  She held her breath until the man said, “Neither did I.”  Phew. It doesn’t always work out that well.

In Exodus 20 the ninth commandment says, “Thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor.”  It doesn’t say anything about bearing false witness for benefit of your neighbor. We honor and praise those who smuggled Jews to safety during WWII.  False passports, etc. might not be a verbal lie but they are lies none-the-less.  Then there is the issue that truth so often is perception and not fact and thus very susceptible to one’s biases, background and education.  In court we are asked to state the “whole truth.”  But we know the “whole truth” about very little.

How thankful we should be that God looks on our hearts and knows our intent whether it be good or evil.

Written by Roger Bothwell on February 17, 2014

Spring of Life, PO Box 124, St. Helena, CA 94574