Daily Office Readings for Monday of Proper 10: Year 2
“But the woman took the two men and hid them. Then she said, ‘True, the men came to me, but I did not know where they came from. And when it was time to close the gate at dark, the men went out. Where the men went I do not know. Pursue them quickly, for you can overtake them.’ She had, however, brought them up to the roof and hidden them with the stalks of flax that she had laid out on the roof.” (Joshua 2: 4 – 6)
Is it ever ok to lie? As I ponder our ancient writings, I have to say, yes! And it is not just in this case. In chapter 27 of Genesis, Jacob, (who later became Israel), was blessed based on a lie! Jacob, participating with his mother Rebecca, fooled Isaac with a lie into believing that Jacob was Esau, who was technically the first born son. Therefore all of Israel is based on a lie. But this was a lie that God sanctioned.
It seems that God reads the human heart. If the heart is good and loving, God will pardon a multitude of sins. Rahab, from our Joshua reading, was desperate to save her family but at the same time, she heard of the stories about God Almighty and she believed in the love of God and so she said to Joshua’s spies, “Now then, since I have dealt kindly with you, swear to me by the Lord that you in turn will deal kindly with my family. Give me a sign of good faith that you will spare my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and deliver our lives from death.” (Joshua 2: 12 – 13) And of course, the men agreed.
I have also heard stories about not giving up Jews hiding in the homes of Germans during the Hitler regime when Nazis were demanding that they be turned over to them. Yes, lies told for the safety of people are sanctioned by God.
It needs to be remembered here that Rahab is thought to have been a prostitute while, Jacob will continue in God’s promise to be the father of many nations, that is, Israel. Both told lies that were pardoned. But also let us remember that God shows no partiality. We are all God’s children. If we are acting in a loving way for those we love, even an occasional miss-leading lie will be sanctioned by our Loving God. God is not insistent on absolutes knowing that we have flaws, but at the same time, God knows that we can be loving, and neither should we be insistent on absolutes. From time to time we all fall short, and sometimes, God uses our weakness for divine purposes.
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to and through the saints of God and then ponder anew what the Almighty can do. John