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The House Church Network: Dedicated to Kingdom Expansion
Why Do Some Christians Tell Little White Lies?

This week's question comes from a Netizen who asks, "Why do Christians seem to be okay with telling 'little white lies' in their business dealings?"

Why is that everyone seems to hold Christians up to a higher standard than everyone else? What is it about them and their beliefs that make them the targets of scrutiny and ridicule if they don't always measure up to everyone's standard? I mean, think about it, those who levy accusations against them probably couldn't find the Bible verses that demand honesty in business dealings or commandments about lying. Most wouldn't know a teaching of Jesus from a proverb from Benjamin Franklin (like "The Lord helps those who help themselves"). So who died and made them judge and jury of everything a "Christian" does?

Who died and made them judges? Three guys - Jesus, Peter, and Paul.

These three all taught that Christians were liable to a higher standard than the rest of the world and that if they were going to wear the label, they'd better understand that the world was going to probe their fashion of life. Jesus taught that Christians should "let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works" (Matthew 5.16). And that's besides "Doing to others as you would have them do to you" (Luke 6.31). Further, he said that if a Christian's actions caused someone like our writer to turn away from the faith (like telling little white lies): "It would be better for you to be thrown into the sea with a large stone around your neck" (Luke 17.2a). Yes, Jesus himself knew that those outside the faith carried quite a bit of judging power against the Christian and their behaviors.

Peter too knew that a Christian's actions were liable to close scrutiny. He demanded that followers of Christ be careful to - "keep a clear conscience so that those who speak slanderously of your good life in Christ will be made ashamed. It is better to suffer for doing good than for doing wrong": (1 Peter 3.16b-17a). But if you're telling "little white lies" those speaking slanderously have grounds for their accusations (and they aren't liable for slander either).

Finally, Paul was concerned how Christians were viewed in the public arena as well. He too taught that Christians must be ethically pure in all their works. But he was also concerned about how they behaved in worship, lest "outsiders or unbelievers enter, [and] say that you are out of your mind?" (1 Corinthians 14.23). Even in doing things that might be considered "okay" by devout Christians, but looked upon with askance by unbelievers, he raised this word of caution, "Take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak" (1 Corinthians 8.9).

Of course, the real clincher is this: Jesus commanded that his followers be above reproach in all areas of their lives. "Let your word be 'Yes, Yes' or 'No, No'; anything more than this comes from the evil one" (Matthew 5.37) and "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Matthew 5.48). Of course, everyone trips up now and again, but he covered that too: "If you remember that your brother or sister has something against you . . . go . . . be reconciled to your brother or sister" (Matthew 5.23-24). If you're going to claim the title "Christian" be as perfect as you can be - in all aspects of your life. For, as John said, "Whoever says, 'I have come to know Christ,' but does not obey his commandments, is a liar, and in such a person the truth does not exist" (1 John 2.4).

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