Has Lying Become Honorable?

By Don R. Hastings

Like so many other Americans, I have heard some of the testimony given by Lt. Col. Oliver North. He is answering questions asked by an Iran-Contra Committee. Among other things, these Congressmen are trying to find out what role Mr. North had in supplying military aid to the Nicaraguan rebels.

What I have heard greatly disturbs me. Mr. North has stated that he has lied over and over again in an effort to keep Congress and others from finding out what he was doing. He shredded incriminating documents and fabricated others. In spite of all this deception, he maintains vehemently, “I have done nothing wrong.” He also said, “I want you to know that lying does not come easy to me . . . I think we all had to weigh in the balance the differences between lives and lies.”

Mr. North assured the committee that he was not lying to them because he was under oath. Is it right to lie if you haven’t taken an oath? Is it right to lie to protect others? The answers to both questions is – No!

I have heard people, who knew Mr. North when he was growing up, say that he was an honest boy. What a shame that he has learned to be a very convincing liar. What a shame that he no longer views lying as wrong under many circumstances. What a shame that our government has encouraged him to change his values. What a shame that many Americans would encourage him to keep his present values by telling him how proud they are of him. Haven’t we called “evil good” (Isa. 5:20)?

Many people believe that if you are told to lie by someone in authority over you, then it is not wrong. Even if the President of the United States had told Mr. North to lie, he should have refused. We all must obey a higher authority than man and that is God! We must have the courage to follow the example and belief of the inspired apostles. They said, “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).

Not only does Mr. North think that his lying was justified, so do a lot of Americans. Mr. North showed some of the telegrams he has received which praised him for his work over the last five years. The Bradenton Herald (Friday, July 10, 1987 edition) has in bold print, “Floridians Rallying in Praise of North. ” This is one Floridian who does not praise him.

Someone prepared a sign which read, “Col. North Is A Hero.” If Mr. North is a model for our young people to idolize and imitate, then our nation must consider deception to be honorable. Does this concern, sadden or upset you?

I know of one Christian, who said that if she had been in Mr. North’s place, she would have acted as he did. She justified his lying because she said he was doing it to protect lives. There may be many other Christians who agree with her.

Like Jeremiah, I weep for my nation (Jer. 9:1). I believe that many people, both in and out of the government, are very careless with the truth. How can we trust officials in government when they lie to us and lie again to cover up other lies? How long can a government stand when her foundation is not truth and righteousness, but dishonesty and moral corruption? How long will God spare a nation which praises the things which he abhors? How can children of the Most High praise wickedness?

One of the things that the Bible has impressed upon my mind is that God hates lying! “There are six things which Jehovah hateth; Yea, seven, which are an abomination unto him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue . . . a false witness that uttereth lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren” (Prov. 6:16-19). “Lying lips are an abomination to Jehovah; But they that deal truly are his delight” (Prov. 12:22). Jesus said of the devil, “When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar and the father thereof” (Jn. 8:44). Jesus is “full of grace and truth” (Jn. 1: 14). There was “no guile found in his mouth” (1 Pet. 2:22).

Do you think God’s attitude toward lying has changed? If you do, you are in for a great surprise at the judgment day. “But for the fearful, and unbelieving. . . and all liars, their part shall be in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone; which is the second death” (Rev. 21:8). Did you notice that “all liars” are going to be in a lake of “fire and brimstone”? That includes those who tell “white lies” and any other kind of a lie. “Without are the dogs, and the sorcerers, and the fornicators, and murderers, and the idolaters, and every one that loveth and maketh a lie” (Rev. 22:15).

Honesty is the best policy because it is God’s policy! Lying destroys our trustworthiness, credibility, faithfulness, respect, reputation, and our soulsl Be not deceived, lying is not honorable. “Righteousness exalteth a nation; But sin is a reproach to any people” (Prov. 13:34). Tell the truth all the time.

Guardian of Truth XXXI: 18, p. 558
September 17, 1987