Is a Lie ever acceptable?

pinochioA girlfriend and I were talking about lies and their acceptability and consequences and it got me to thinking:

  •  Is there ever an acceptable lie?
  • Do I lie?
  • Why do I lie?
  • What happens when someone lies to me?

I would like to say that I NEVER lie but that would be a lie.

I lie to my children. I hate that I lie to them because I have promised that I would never and then I tell them to be good or Santa isn’t visiting them. Is that an acceptable lie?

I lie sometimes when people ask “How are you?” and I say that I am fine, but I am not really fine.  Is that an acceptable lie?

Rest assured though, most of the time I don’t lie. My close family and friends know this. It is why good friends have avoided me during times they are struggling with things that they don’t really want my opinion on. It is why my oldest probably cringes when she asks me how something looks on her or how I like her hair.

I am not trying to be hurtful, but if you don’t want my opinion then please don’t ask. I am a “whatcha see is whatcha get” kind of girl.

Is lying EVER a dealbreaker for you?  Will it cause a break up in a friendship or marriage?

I think I put up a certain amount of lying from those closest to me for a couple of reasons.  The first is that Jesus is forgiving so I have no right not to be just as forgiving, even though it irks me. And the second reason is because I realize the person lying to me feels they can’t live up to whatever expectation they feel I hold them to.

So instead of taking it as a personal affront I am going to take it for what it is, a character flaw.

Sometimes telling the truth backfires though.  Has that ever happened to you?

I had a job where people I worked with weren’t always honest. I spoke up. I got bullied. I was the bad guy.  Then a lie was perpetrated about me. I was hurt and angry. Because I was the squeaky wheel already, the lie was believed.  It was an untenable situation.

With that in mind, I might add that I don’t lie on my taxes either.  There is never enough tax savings to warrant a possible audit. When in doubt, call the IRS or a tax advisor.

Here is what I tell my oldest:

Your integrity is all you have at the end of the day. If you aren’t an honest person, it will become apparent pretty quickly and you will be without friends, possibly family, or a job.



  1. There’s a fine line between lying and self-censorship. I am guilty of both. I think the “I’m fine” lie is probably more sel-preservation than anything else…you never know how much the asker really cares how you are. And do you trust them enough to unload? The little lies we tell our children…sigh…those are tough, but often they serve a purpose (at least I hope they do)! You are definitely getting me thinking today!

  2. Love the quote about integrity- so true!! I’d never thought about the response to “how are you” as a lie…but I guess it technically often is. Another reason to lie sometimes in my book include sparing feelings- Great Aunt Millie asks the kids how they like the fruitcake or hideous homemade sweater….


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