Is lying an acceptable option if the truth would hurt the listener?

by The Berean 5 Replies latest jw friends

  • The Berean
  • White Dove
    White Dove

    That would depend on if the lie would hurt the listener, as well. "Does this dress make my butt look fat?" LIE! There is lettuce from lunch on your boss' teeth: "Is there anything on my teeth?" TELL THE TRUTH! Your best friend just told you that she cheated on her husband who is your friend, as well but doesn't want you to tell him: "Do you think my wife cheated on me?" STAY OUT OF THEIR MARRITAL AFFAIRS! SAY YOU'D BETTER TALK TO YOUR WIFE. I CAN'T SAY BECAUSE MY NAME'S NOT ON YOUR MARRIAGE LICENSE.

    Advice gleaned from years of experience and from others' advice to me. I'm happy to share it with you.

  • Mrs. Fiorini
    Mrs. Fiorini

    Personally, I think it depends on the circumstances. While I value telling the truth and would not lie casually, I think doing whatever is loving is the most important thing. Some questions that should be considered IMO are: How big of a lie is it? How big of a hurt would the truth cause? How likely is the person to find out the truth? Would the hurt caused be needless? Would lying end up causing even greater hurt than the truth? Does the person have a right to know the truth about this? What difference will knowing the truth make in that person's life? What will they do with that information? How will lying affect the relationship with that person? What are the full ramifications of telling the truth or the lie? I'm sure there are other factors to consider as well.

    Best wishes to you if you need to make a decision about this.

  • White Dove
    White Dove

    Mrs. Fiorini,

    That was so well said. Yes, I believe there is a place for lying. It must be used with careful descretion, however. But so should the truth be used carefully so as not to cause harm. If is causes harm, don't do it!

  • jeeprube

    Depends upon which ethical theory you subscribe to.

    Perhaps you should check out the Hedonistic Calculus?

  • asilentone

    I prefer to know the truth even if it hurts me. If I find out that person lied to me in a big way, that would hurt me even more. I have a story to tell you about but I would not disclose it here on JWN because it is very personal.

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