And it came to pass, when he was close to entering Egypt, that he said to Sarai his wife, “Indeed I know that you are a woman of beautiful countenance. Therefore it will happen, when the Egyptians see you, that they will say, ‘This is his wife’, and they will kill me, but they will let you live. Please say you are my sister, that it may be well with me for your sake, and that I may live because of you.” (Genesis 12:11-13)
A Little White Lie Turns Black
Abraham was one of the great men of faith in the Biblical story but like all men, he was challenged by the frailty of doubt. The Lord had promised Abraham that he would be a great nation and through his seed, the world would be blessed. This promise included a land grant that would be the dwelling place of his people. At the age of seventy-five, these promises seemed impossible yet through faith he saw them afar off and embraced them. God told Abraham to leave his family and go to a place that He would show him. Abraham obeyed. When a grievous famine came upon the land, Abraham took his family to Egypt. There was a ten year age difference between Abraham and Sarah but Sarah remained a woman of great beauty. When they arrived in Egypt, Abraham became concerned that someone would see how beautiful his wife was and kill him to take Sarah. His plan was for Sarah to tell everyone she was his sister which was a half-truth as Sarah was his half-sister.
Telling a white lie is no different than telling a lie. No matter the justification of telling a half-truth, lying remains a sin. Abraham tried to justify his actions by failing to tell the whole truth because he feared for his life. There was no reason he had anything to fear. First and foremost, his faith in the protection of God was lacking. Secondly, the Lord has promised him a son through whom a great nation would come and the world would be blessed. He and Sarah had no son and the promise of God would assure Abraham that nothing would happen to him. He feared Pharaoh more than he trusted God.
The real problem with a white lie is that it turns black with the foreboding consequences of sin. God plagued Pharaoh because of the lie of Abraham and Sarah. The character of Abraham was tarnished in the eyes of the ruler of Egypt because of his deceit. If Abraham would have thought the whole matter through, he would have realized he was committing great wickedness before God and that no matter how he tried; his plan was doomed to fail. In a short time, the plan of Abraham fell apart and he had to leave Egypt. His little white lie changed a lot of lives.
Truth has a pure character that men would do well to follow. If Abraham had told the truth, in the beginning, none of the harm would have come upon the house of Pharaoh and the good name of Abraham would not have been tarnished in the eyes of others. Telling a half-truth is no more than telling a whole lie. Trying to justify actions by lying remains a sin. The lesson we teach our children is to always tell the truth and yet they often see their parents fudge the truth and try to explain things away. A white lie is nothing more than a black lie with paint.