A Shrink Thinks

Truth and Lies (Part One)

Truth and Lies (Part One)
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Alan Thomas
Alan Thomas Professor and Consultant in Psychiatry. Elder at Newcastle Reformed Evangelical Church.
01 May, 2023 4 min read

Can lies sometimes be acceptable? Are there situations when lying can be the right thing to do? After all, there seem to be occasions in the Bible when people who seem to be lying also seem to be commended by God. The Hebrew midwives in Exodus 2 and Rahab in Joshua 2 are perhaps the most well-known examples.

Before tackling this (in the next article) we need first to think about truth. Famously, Pilate ran away from the truth. When confronted by the truth of Jesus he threw out the question, ‘What is truth?’ but immediately demonstrated, by turning away and walking out, that he didn’t want an answer.

We know the importance of truth. God is true, and his words are truth, and Jesus, in turn, is the Truth (John 14:6), and so always speaks what is true. The Spirit too is truth (John 14:17) and is the inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, which are the revealed truth from God for us today (John 17:17).

God commands us in the ninth commandment: ‘You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.’ While this refers directly to behaviour in a law court, by extension and in imitation of God we are to be truthful everywhere in all our relationships. So unlike Pilate, we want to know the answer to the question ‘what is truth?’

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