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Does the End, Justify the Means?

Does the end justify the means? Would it be so terrible to lie in order to save a life?

Ah, ethical questions...not good for me.  Because even as a pastor, I am morally and ethically weak.  I want to choose on the side of humanity, for love, for fellowship, for unity.  I believe that the law was made for man, not man created for the law.  Anyway, that’s why I will keep this answer short, because I will not share my thoughts, but God’s words concerning ethics.

Is it ok to do a wrong in order to do a right?  Micah 6:8 says, “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you.  But to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God? (NKJV)”  Let God’s word speak to you right now.  The goodness that God requires of each of us will be supplied by the Lord Himself.  Thank goodness for that because how many of us want to share our own merits, intellect, or goodness with others? 

When people come to my office for counseling, they share with me things that I have no idea about.  Divorce, bankruptcy, cancer, etc…  Only the Lord can give me the words to speak in these situations.  I have no experience, expertise or wisdom in any of these areas, yet God gives me the right words to speak at the right time.  When you totally rely on God in your life, He will give you thoughts, words and actions in order to glorify God.  Commit yourselves to God early in the morning, before you go out of your home, and the Holy Spirit will dwell in you each moment throughout the day.  That is walking in the path of His light (Proverbs

Luke 12:11-12 says, “When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.”  Here is your answer to your question.  Whatever situation you find yourself in, the Holy Spirit can give you the right words, thoughts and actions.  If the Holy Spirit is guiding you, would He give you a lie in order to save a life?  No.

When we begin to justify the means in order to reach an end, we go down a slippery slope that is covered in human reasoning.  Don’t live your life according to human principles, but rather according to Godly principles.  Look to the life of Christ and study the details of His ministry.  The Pharisees tried to trap Jesus in various situations.  Daily prayer and devotion to His Father in Heaven gave power and wisdom to live a morally and ethically pure life as God’s child.  Remember, “He has shown you.”

P.S.  If anyone had a chance to save someone's life by telling a lie, you should submit your story to English Compass.


I would like to follow up my comments with some more comments.  A church member of mine noted to me on this topic of telling a lie in order to save someone’s life, and corrected my assertion that there was no evidence of that in the Bible.  However, in the story of Rahab (Joshua 2), we find the story of a heroine, telling a lie, in order to save God’s people.  And she was a harlot, who later became the great-grand mother of Jesus Christ.  She lied to the king’s men, telling them that she did not know where the spies went.  In fact, she had hid them in her home.

Some may argue that Rahab was a pagan and did not know God’s 9th commandment, do not bear false witness.  Some may argue that God forgave her for lying because she did a greater good in saving God’s two spies. 

Would Rahab have told a lie if she was an Israelite in good standing of all 10 commandments?  Would she have told the truth and given the spies over if she was an Israelite?

My response to Rahab telling a lie in order to do good is that God is our Judge and only He can forgive us for breaking the 9th commandment.  I’m not trying to pass the verdict on and ignore the question, but I am trying to show that we cannot give ethical answers when we are not in a position to judge between right and wrong.  We are the ones breaking the law, not handing it down.

Let’s remember that if we are in a situation such as Rahab, pray the to Lord for wisdom and the Holy Spirit shall lead you. 

Daniel Yim (#1) – October 13, 2016

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