When is it okay to lie? Or for that matter, is it ever really okay to lie?

In the Torah, we see that Joseph’s brothers lied to him when asking for forgiveness. They told him that their father’s dying wish was for Joseph to forgive his brothers for the horrible misdeed of selling him into slavery. Had Jacob (their father) truly wanted this, he would have asked Joseph himself, yet the brothers believed there was a greater chance of creating harmony and forgiveness if Joseph believed it was a request from his father, rather than a request from the brothers themselves.

The ideology and thought process being that in order to make peace, to have harmony, and to end discord we are allowed to lie–or rather, bend the truth.

My question being: if we live in the grey areas and allow lying, will it create a downward spiral? Will we then justify other forms of lying and eventually cheat or steal in the name of peace?

Where should the line be drawn?

To me, it is obvious; if someone asks how they look in an outfit, unless they are going to embarrass themselves, you always say you look good. There’s no need to make someone feel bad for no reason, and we don’t need to always offer our opinion. So, I guess my boundary is when if I tell the truth I’m going to hurt someone, and if I don’t tell the truth, I’m going to hurt someone as well. If I am not bending my integrity nor ignoring my moral compass, then I think it’s okay to lie. However, if lying will injure ourselves or others– or even worse, compromise our values, then that’s a slippery slope; once we go down that road there is no saying where we’ll end up.

What are your thoughts? Is it ever okay to lie? Or should we always tell the truth– no matter the consequences?

This week, let’s speak kindly to others. Let’s not offer up harsh words. Some things are truly better left unsaid.

Accountability, Community, Unconditional Love


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