4 Kinds of lies (#2 & #3)

Click here for #1 & #2

Lie of Necessity (medacium officiosum). Lying for our neighbor's benefit in order to save their life or preserve their spiritual health.
  • Proper example: hiding your innocent neighbor from a murderous, fascist government.
  • Bad example: hiding your tax evading neighbor from tenacious IRS agents.
The Bible has several examples of people who were praised for lies of necessity: Shiprah & Puah (Exodus 1:15-21). Rahab (Joshua 2:4-6; Hebrews 11:31)

Polite Lie (mendacium humulitatis): When your waitress asks, "Hello, how are you today?" do you tell her the truth? Probably not. When you sign all of your letters "Sincerely" or "Yours Truly" that's a but insincere isn't it? You can't be everyone's truly. These are all examples of culturally expected Polite Lies. Such lies are spoken out of love and "cover much" for the sake of daily piece. See 1 Cor 13:6; 1 Peter 4:8.

So does this mean there is a continuum of lying that make some untruths okay? Nope! In Truth, all lies seem to violate Biblical principles in one way or another-- even the lies shown in Scripture to be honorable. While we do accept some lies from a cultural standpoint, the fact that we all lie fairly regularly reveals our true dependence on Christ.

In short, we cannot fulfill the criteria set out for us in the 10 Commandment. Even when living rightly, we still fail. Only through the grace of Jesus Christ are we redeemed:
"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,not a result of works, so that no one may boast."
Ephesians 2:8-9


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