"Is it ever right to do wrong?"

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by John3v36, Aug 1, 2002.

  1. John3v36

    John3v36
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    I could not find the original topic. But felt it needed a reply. so! here is the original question followed by my reply.
    =============================================
    "Is it ever right to do wrong?"

    In "Right or Wrong", a question was risen about whether or not it was OK to use deception as a way for getting people to read the Gospel

    I would like to expand the topic to "is it ever right to do wrong?"

    Please consider:

    In Joshua chapter two, we find a prostitute who has lied to the government authorities.

    Her deception was later mentioned in the NT

    Hebrews 11:31 By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.

    James 2:25
    Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?

    Also consider the Sabbath Law. I think that the following verses teach us that there are times when a lesser law is overruled by a grater law.

    Luke 14:3-5
    And Jesus answering spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day?
    And they held their peace. And he took [him], and healed him, and let him go;
    And answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day?

    Mark 3:1-5
    And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand.
    And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him.
    And he saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth. And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace.
    And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.

    This is an application of the principle, and I would very much like for you to tell me what they would do in the same situation and why.

    You are living in Nazi Germany. You have several Jews hidden in you house. The authorities come to the door and ask if you knew where the Jews were hiding.
    Do you break one of the Ten Commandments and lie to the SS or do you tell on them?
    ============================================

    While I certainly can't claim perfection of behavior in this area, I also can't bring myself to conclude that it is ever right to do wrong. I had a discussion on this very issue with a friend of mine in the context of an Intervarsity meeting years ago as an undergraduate. He felt that it was O.K. to be somewhat dishonest at times in order to avoid hurting people's feelings unnecessarily. An example he used was the situation where a lady with an ugly hat asks someone what he/she thinks of her hat. The truthful answer would be "I think it's really ugly." The pleasing answer would be "I think it looks very nice on you." Obviously there are other non answers like "It really sets you apart." In summary, this friend of mine finally ended up making the following statement which I believe is the only consistent conclusion he could have come to. He said, "I believe even the Lord Jesus would have lied on this occasion." This is a consistent statement for him to have made because every Christian's goal should be to be more like Christ (1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.). Even Paul encourages us to follow Christ by following him as he emulates Him (1 Corinthians 11:1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.). Thus for the Christian to conclude that it is O.K. for a Christian to do wrong that good may prevail that same Christian MUST conclude that the Lord Jesus Christ would have done so too since we are to emulate Him. However, as consistent a statement as this may have been for my friend to make, it bothered me immensely. Probably the main reason it bothered me so much is that it is, in fact, a denial of the deity of Christ. In Hebrews 6:17-18, it clearly indicates that it is IMPOSSIBLE for God to lie. If Christ can lie (on occasion) He clearly must not be God. That is a conclusion that is unacceptable to any Christian. A tiny selection from the overwhelming number of other passages that deal with the truthfulness and sinlessness of Christ and of God are as follows:
    -2 Corinthians 5:21 who knew no sin
    -1 Peter 2:22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
    -1 John 3:5 in him is no sin.
    -John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life

    Now let's discuss some of the other examples that were brought up. I would like to mention that my friend and I also discussed some of these same examples on the aforementioned occasion.

    He mentions the harlot Rahab and points out that she received blessing from the Lord for her actions and is later commended in the New Testament for the same. Notice however that it was her faith in God and protection of Israel's spies that are commended -- not the deception with which she did it. God is merciful and gracious to bless the faith and good works that He puts within us even though, too often, we mix our own deception and sin therewith. It's probably a little like the way you would commend one of your children who does an act that is praise worthy even though, perhaps, not all of his or her motivations in doing that act were totally pure. Psalms 130:3 says "If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?" I believe God was commending Rahab's faith driven desires and was refraining from marking her iniquities. This is further validated by the fact that she herself was a harlot and was referred to as such in Hebrews 11. Does this mean that God condoned her harlotry along with her deception? God forbid!

    Your friend next mentions Luke 14 and Mark 3 and seems to imply that Jesus broke the Sabbath law by healing on the Sabbath. I would contend that what Jesus broke was the Pharisaical additions to the law and not the Sabbath law as delivered by God. The Pharisees had added hundreds of their own rules by way of interpreting the law as delivered by God to Moses. Just because the Pharisees said that their man-made rules of interpretation were equivalent to God's law doesn't mean that they were correct. In fact Jesus pointed out to them that He and not they is the Lord of the Sabbath. They had no right to make the interpretations they did. He proceeded to show them the correct interpretation. He did not violate the real God given law at all by doing so. Had he done so, he would have been denying the authority of His Father and we know that it is impossible for God to deny Himself (2 Timothy 2:13). Thus to argue that Christ demonstrates the breaking of one of God's laws in order to obey a higher law is an in-valid argument because Christ did not break any of God's laws in what He did as is made abundantly clear in the following passage: "If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love." (John 15:10 ).

    Finally, your friend poses the following hypothetical question:

    "You are living in Nazi Germany. You have several Jews hidden in your house. The authorities come to the door and ask if you knew where the Jews were hiding.
    Do you break one of the Ten Commandments and lie to the SS or do you tell on them? "

    The framers of such a question apparently are trying to back us into a corner and get us to admit that it certainly would be wrong to "tell on" the Jews that are being hidden. Once they get you to admit this they feel that they have cornered you into a position whereby your only way out is to lie and say you don't know where they are hiding. However, this "only way out" ignores the power of God and His ability to honor truthfulness. In fact I was once told that in the book The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom this exact situation did arise. The Nazis came in and asked Corrie ten Boom where the Jews were hiding. As it turns out they were hiding under the table at that moment. Corrie ten Boom, trusting that God could protect his people even if the truth were told, said to the Nazis (with smile on her face) "They're under the table." The Nazis thought she was mocking them and refused to look there for fear of making fools of themselves by believing what they were sure was just a sarcastic comment. God used their own pride against them and Corrie ten boom refused to do wrong so that good could prevail. Instead she trusted God to bring right out of right.

    In summary, I think that this whole question is answered by Paul's questions (and resounding answers) in his letter to the Romans. In Romans 6:1-2 he asks, "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?" He asks a similar (and perhaps even more relevant to this discussion) question in Romans 3:5-8, "But if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unrighteous who taketh vengeance? (I speak as a man) God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world? For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner? And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just."

    Paul makes it clear that the philosophy that it is right to do wrong to accomplish righteous ends is "damnable."

    It is damnable because it substitutes finite human wisdom regarding the natural outcomes of our acts for the omnipotent wisdom of God who commands, "Be ye holy; for I am holy" (1 Peter 1:16). This holy God truly knows the end from the beginning (in contrast to ourselves when we just think we do - Isaiah 46:10) and He is able to over-rule the hearts of men if we just obey Him and trust Him for the results.

    I hope this helps
     
  2. Abiyah

    Abiyah
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    Amein, amein, and amein, John!!! I agreee with
    everything you said, not that this would really
    matter to you, because you have already shown
    yourself to be one of integrity.

    The only thing I would say is that I believe that it
    was Corrie's sister who said they were under the
    table. Ten Boom, throughout the years of her
    writings bemoaned the fact that she had lied,
    and she believed it was her very lie that brought
    them to the prison camp where her father and
    sister died, while it was her sister's trust in our
    God which led her to tell the truth and keep
    their chharges from an earlier destruction.

    There is a book out by Diane M. Komp, M.D.,
    called [anatomy of a lie]: the truth about lies
    and why good people tell them
    . I would
    highly recommend this book for any believer
    struggling with this issue. It was published in
    1998 by Zondervan.

    Komp broaches the problem of ten Boom's lie,
    how she felt about it, and the apparent result.
    Komp, herself a believer, had a problem telling
    the truth at times as a physicain and educator.
    Finally realizing that she needed to face this
    problem, she began to study and pray, as well
    as bring others into her fight to learn Truth.

    I was taught, by my mother, to lie, so this, and
    other areas of integrity, has been my pursuit
    since 1984. There are areas in which people--
    Good Ppeople--lie and do not even realize it.
    I set my mind to learn the areas in which I was
    dishonest and give them to our God, seeking
    absolute honesty in word, thought, and action.
    I think I am there, but I have thought that before.
    8o)

    Tthank you for your thought-provoking post! I
    appreciate it.
     
  3. post-it

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    John3v36, I really liked your post a lot but let me pose a challenge to your theory.

    Peter did wrong by escaping from prison if looked at from man's law. It was an act that was punishable by death if I remember correctly. Further the "Angel" that opened the prison door did wrong also (aiding in an escape of a prisoner) Peter further violated the laws by continuing to preach the word as did the other apostles.

    It seems that you have contradicted yourself by first saying it is never right to do wrong, then you qualified wrong as only that which is a God Created Law. And if that is the case how can you support that theory if Romans 13 tells us that man's law is Gods law.
     
  4. Abiyah

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    Post-It --

    Since I fully backed the first post, may I answer
    your question? Well, I did not hear a "yes,"
    but . . .

    If our Lord Himself sent an angel to release you
    from prison, would you stay in your cell and tell
    the anged, "I can't go, because this country's
    law says I cannot?" I know that this is a very
    simple answer, but it really covers Peter's situ-
    ation whether he was an angel when the doors
    opened or did not. It is never wrong to do what
    our God provides for us to do.

    [ August 02, 2002, 10:58 AM: Message edited by: Abiyah ]
     
  5. Jarlaxle

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    No, no, no... You lie to the Nazi ;)

    Why? Because it is the same as helping the cow out of the ditch. Helping the cow is technically work on the Sabbath thereby breaking the law, but as was earlier pointed out, some laws override others in certain situations. Helping the Jews is more important than not telling the truth.

    We are not to lie, but we certainly are not to turn innocents over to evil men either. The authorities were looking for Peter, but nobody turned them in. That was a deception in and of itself, was it not? Sure it was. But protecting them overrides the law against lying.

    Having said that, I most certainly do not deny that God will save anyone He good and well please however He wants, but God could take cows out of ditches if He wanted to as well. Nevertheless, God told us to take the cow out of the ditch… maybe just maybe that’s how God saved the cow.

    Remind me of a story I once heard about a man that was caught in a flood. The waters kept rising and rising until they were up into his house. A rescue boat came by but he turned it down saying that God would save him. The waters rose more and he hand to get atop his roof. A helicopter came by but he refused to get in saying that God would rescue him. The flood finally rose higher and drowned him. He went to heaven asking God why he didn’t save him to which God replied, “Well, I sent a boat and a helicopter. What else did you want?”

    I am not saying that we should lie to little old ladies about how pretty their hats are, but when push comes to shove, we should be wise enough to know which laws are more important.

    ~Jarlaxle
     
  6. Son of Coffee Man

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    I would just like to comment that your 'story' is completely useless here.

    The reason is the man on the roof was not being pursuaded to do something wrong. He was given an offer to do something completely legal (unless getting in a boat or a helicopter is illegal where you are). The question raised suggests a situation where the choice is either lie and protect those you personally feel need protecting or tell the truth and let God sort it out.

    Besides (interesting twist) maybe God doesn't want those jews under the table to be spared. Maybe they need to go to a prison camp to realize their sinful state and accept Christ as messiah. We can't claim to know his ways.

    As for the peter thing and Romans 13:1 -
    my take is that God is the author of the law and authority so if he decides to override any human being, He can. And clearly He did when He led Peter out by an angel.

    SoCM
     
  7. Jarlaxle

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    The story completely points out that God does not always work with miraculous power, i.e. teleporting the man out of the flood, giving the cow the power needed to get itself out of the ditch, or causing the German to not look under the table. God sometimes tells you to get the cow out of the ditch regardless of whether it breaks a law or not. Pointing out something about my story that does not apply is what is useless.

    [ August 02, 2002, 05:26 PM: Message edited by: Jarlaxle ]
     
  8. Don

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    Jarlaxle, the "Jew under the table" scenario reminds me of one I've heard before. Are you by chance a reader of Bob Enyart's material?

    I humbly submit to all that there is one more option to the "Jew under the table" scenario that no one ever seems to offer: When asked by the Nazi, say nothing. And if the Jew is discovered by the Nazi, go with the Jew.

    There are those that say you should lie; I say no. If God has placed the Jew in your care, then you have become a steward of something that God has given you. You should protect it to the best of your ability, but you should never compromise your Christianity to do so.

    Does that mean killing the Nazi? I would fight for and yes, kill, anyone threatening my wife and children, because God has made me a steward of them; so I believe the same goes for the Jew that had been placed in my care.

    But I ascribe to what was posted here already from the apostle Paul, along with specific instructions from that same man: "Provide things honest in the sight of all men." "Provide for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men."

    You want to lie? Go ahead. It's your choice. But when it comes time to tell the truth, how will people know?
     
  9. Jarlaxle

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    I would trust that man that lied to save my brother before I would trust the man that didn't and therefore let him be killed.
     
  10. Don

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    But you didn't answer the option I presented, now did you?

    Would you trust me? Because I would go to the prison camp, and yes, even the gas chambers with that Jew. That Nazi would have to shoot me or take me, too. I would not point out the Jew, but I would not lie, either.

    You also didn't answer my question about Bob Enyart....

    [ August 02, 2002, 06:09 PM: Message edited by: Don ]
     
  11. Don

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    I'll wait until tomorrow for an answer....
     
  12. post-it

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    Following your logic, the abortion clinic bomber is justified if God's angels provides him the bomb and success in carring it out.
     
  13. Dr. Bob

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    Dr. Bob Jones, Sr.

    Last time I checked I am to do right. That means obeying GOD (not necessarily man).

    But know that IF I choose to disobey man (lie to the king about Jewish spies, for instance; or pray even when a law says I am heading for the lion's den) I will have to face the consequences of man's law. Like Hadassah said, "If I perish, I perish."

    Hananiah, Azariah and Mishael were right when they went INTO the fiery furnace, and would have been right whether God miraculously saved them or let them burn.

    [ August 03, 2002, 02:58 AM: Message edited by: Dr. Bob Griffin ]
     
  14. Bro. Curtis

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    Daniel 1:7, eh doc ?

    Hananiah: the Lord has graciously given

    Azariah: God has helped

    Misheal: Request, entreaty

    Thank you for making me look that up. I learned something tonite.
     
  15. Scott J

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    Following your logic, the abortion clinic bomber is justified if God's angels provides him the bomb and success in carring it out.[/QB]</font>[/QUOTE]However, using your logic God doesn't establish right and wrong... human reason does. Who does this make sovereign? Who does this enthrone as God?
     
  16. blackbird

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    Is is right to do wrong in order to preserve a life? Corrie ten Boom certainly had a way of "cloaking" the truth to those Nazis storming into the house! Miss Ten Boom is one of my heroans(I believe I got that word right. A female hero!)

    She didn't have a problem of "bold-faced" lieing in order to preserve a life. It seems I read in one of her books that after her release, she returned to Holland and found it still occupied by the Nazis. She questioned returning back to the "underground"--seriously considered returning--until the day that an underground agent asked her to "do away" with a man that was "getting in the way" of the resistance! She explained in her book that she would lie, cheat, steal in order to preserve life but that she had to stop short of killing someone.

    Would I harbor a Jew under those conditions and never condition myself to do what she, Betsie,
    and her father, Casper did? The big question was--where was the rest of Holland when Corrie was telling those "bold-faced" lies!

    And another big question today is--would ole Blackbird(a white man) go "Underground" to help a Jew, or a black man or anyone else if someone else rose against them? We have an expression here that says, "In a New York second" I would! I would condition myself to telling a bold face lie to those I needed to tell that lie to and then when the smoke is finally cleared--and the last shot has been fired--just like ole Miss Ten Boom--I'd then recondition myself to telling the truth!
     
  17. Abiyah

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    Post-it --

    I am sorry, but your note to me was . . . uh . . . .
    Well, I'll tell you what: if an angel of the Lord
    hands you a bomb and tells you to bomb an
    abotion clinic, check the angel's credentials.
    That angel may be appearing as an angel of
    light, but . . . .

    8o)

    Blackbird --

    When Corrie ten Boom wrote her first books,
    she was relaying facts. And the fact is that ten
    Boom, in her later books, regretted her lies and
    told why.

    Ten Boom is one of my heroes, but not because
    she lied. She is my hero because when she
    went through the "fire," she learned from it,
    rather than wallowing in self-pity, and she
    taught others from those experiences. One of
    the things she wrote time and time again was
    her regret for lying and how much better she
    believed things would have been if she had
    told the truth as her sister did.

    And may I add that there were many in Holland,
    and other countries, who also hid the Jews.
    Corrrie ten Boom is just one of those whho hap-
    pened to write about it.

    [ August 03, 2002, 11:11 AM: Message edited by: Abiyah ]
     
  18. Don

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    Well, it's tomorrow, well into the morning, and Jarlaxle hasn't answered either of my questions.

    Conclusions:
    1) He/she is busy;
    2) I was right that he/she hadn't considered any other option than the one he/she had presented; and I was also correct that they're a reader/supporter of Bob Enyart.

    Either way, I'll give it a couple of more days....
     
  19. w_fortenberry

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    The solution is actually very simple.

    One need only ask the Lord to enable them to always tell the truth. He will honor that request.

    Though the Christian may be tempted to lie God will always provide a way of escape.

     
  20. post-it

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    So your criteria for determination whether or not the Angel is from God or not is that a holy Angel would not ask you to do something Illegal? You have just presented a case that Peter should not have listen to the Angel that opened the prison door.

    The whole Peter thing not committing sin in this case is a real problem. If we do what an Angel tells us or what we think is God telling our hearts to do, and it violates what is right according to man’s law or the majority’s opinion, it is suddenly justified. Unfortunately this is the same defense an Abortion clinic bomber is going to rely on. despite what man's law says, he will see that he did what he was told to do by God or Angel. And who are we to judge him right or wrong anymore than we can judge that Peter did wrong by escaping prison. What if a greater good came from the bombing? What if it was God’s will? God has sent many people to death with his commands.

    Romans: 13 is the only way out of this and many problems created by poor interpretation or ambiguous scripture on this subject. It is wrong to bomb abortion clinics and it is wrong to break out of jail when angels or anyone opens the door. If God didn't really want Peter in jail he never would have sent him there. The fact that he allowed it and then confused issues of right and wrong by further allowing his escape seems a little too much to believe. I rest on the fact that Peter escaped or left based on FEAR, not on a supposed angel.

    He reported the person who opened the door as an angel in Biblical text so while the Bible is not compromised by his action, Peter himself is shown clearly to still be only human and able to make mistakes and continue in sin despite thinking to the contrary. I’m not sure why people today think that the Apostles were somehow incapable of committing sin. Even Paul admitted to it.
     

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