"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.