(Disclaimer: Please read the whole thing instead of drawing phrases out. And please do not read into this post that you have a license to start lying...that is not the point....you don't.) While attending a training yesterday, we explored the realities of serving the persecuted church. We looked at the 10 most persecuted countries on the earth today. Maybe you want to know what they are? Read them here.
In order to bring the gospel to these nations, believers are often asked to do things that collide with their faith in Jesus. Often, they are faced with serious situations where they must decide to lie or tell the truth. Most Christians would quickly just spout out why lying is wrong. Period. But wait a minute. Don't put the period there too fast.
First, take a look at the following stories/passages in the Bible where LYING or DECEPTION is REWARDED:
- Exodus 1:15-23
- Exodus 2:1-10
- Acts 9:19-31
- Acts 12:12-19
- Acts 5:17-32
- I Samuel 21:1-31
- I Kings 18:1-15
- Joshua 2:1-11
All of these stories have several things in common:
- The person was asked or expected to do something they did not feel was right in the eyes of God.
- The person(s) lied or deceived the civil (or other) authorities.
- They were rewarded by God and/or man.
Now, you are probably thinking about all the times in the Bible where God punishes lying...like Abraham. Or Ananias and Sapphira. And many others. And the many places in Proverbs and beyond that out right tell us that "the Lord hates lying lips". I am with you all the way. Lying is wrong. Almost all the time. Almost? Yes, almost.
I believe in lying.
I believe in truth.
The Bible teaches lying being rewarded.
The Bible teaches lying condemned.
And we must take into account the whole counsel of God, and stop using Romans 13 out of context.
So, here is the bottom line: When there is a direct contradiction between what God wants and what civil authorities want, choose God! Our first and highest loyalty is to the heart of God and His kingdom, not to worldly governments. And THIS is the very thing that scares governments...that followers of Jesus actually have a loyalty to something higher than them. These situations will be VERY RARE and most people will live and die having never faced a situation where they have to make this decision. But I have already in my short years in missions. And I am sure I will again.
It is all summed up for me in Acts 5:29 as they are facing great persecution for the sake of the Kingdom: We must obey God, rather than man!!