Posted by: thebylog | October 13, 2005

When You Can Lie?

I don’t particularly like situations in which, because of politeness or social constraints or emotion, one is pressured to say certain things.

Actually, the author of a Christian Ethics book that I had at SMBI said that one of the instances in which it was acceptable for a Christian to not tell the truth is in a “prearranged social situation.”

For instance, someone meets me in the hall and asks, “How are you doing?” I say, “Fine,” even though the computer just ate the homework I had been working on for four hours, the food that I have at home is terrible (the look in my eyes say I’m sick of it and the color of my face says I’ve been made sick by it) and my girlfriend’s mad at me. This author says it’s ok to say “Fine.”

Incidentally, I haven’t recently had a computer episode of that proportion, the food I have at home is very satisfactory, and my girlfriend likes me.



  1. I was pondering recently the trite responses we give when someone asks “What’s up?” I realized the level of seriousness this has descended to, when, the other day, someone asked “How are you doing?” and I replied, “Nothing much.” Of course, it may have been the 45 minutes of sleep I had got the night before that may have influenced that as much as anything, but I was still concerned. There was also the time that someone asked how I was doing, and I said “Fine.” Truth be told, I was home, sick on the couch. Hardly “Fine.”

    Anyway… my random thoughts…

  2. It’s not only OK but accurate to say, “Fine.” We are not only a physical being but also emotional, mental and spiritual. Surely we are “Fine” in one of those areas, aren’t we?

    Mrs. K

  3. These questions aren’t to be taken literally. They are simply greetings of our society. What’s up or How are you doing are synonyms for “Hi.”

    Generally when I ask someone how they are I’m not asking for a last-24-hour-medical-history report, or a State of the Emotional Being address.

    Fine is fine, just like Mrs. K pointed out. “Not so hot” or “Hanging in there” is ok too, if that’s the case. But I don’t think literalism should be demanded when that is not the intent of the inquiry.

  4. By!-I’m coming to PA next week! -Hi

  5. It’s more important to be polite than to tell the truth? WOW! Why would you say you’re fine when you’re not? I don’t get it!

  6. When can you lie? hmm. Here’s what Peter and David thought: “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech.” (1 Peter 3:10) Guess it depends if you want good days??

    Why are we asking a question we don’t expect to be taken literally? Seems a little dishonest to me.

    I’ve often gotten a little irked when the first thing out of someone’s mouth is “How are you?” I know it’s just a phrase, but how about “Hi” or “Hey, good to see ya”?? (Or better yet “Shalom!”) Let’s chat and then if you really want to know– I’d be glad to tell you honestly! I get irked because I want to be honest even when I’m not doing so well, yet I know most of the time it’s just a trite phrase someone is saying, to say hello and who cares how I really am?

    So is there such a thing as a dishonest question???

    It probably gets to me more b/c I’ve went through wilderness times and depression and got tired of answering honestly, because of the response. (it makes people uncomfortable b/c they’re expecting a “fine” or you imediately get a “What the matter!?” when it’s someone I don’t trust with descriptions of my inner anguish. So I often just said “Okay” unless I knew they really wanted to know and cared. Yet I feel like I’m being dishonest. Sometimes I just ignore the question and say “Hi” back.

    I guess I feel like it’s best to honestly say, I’m not doing so well… and HOW ARE YOU? [grin]

    OK, rant over.

  7. I’d have to agree with peaceful. I had a part in this humorous skit in convention years ago where this lady asks a man the standard “How are you?” question, not at all really caring how the man was, but the man starts sobbing and describes in detail his horrible day. The point of the skit–when you say “How are you?” mean it, and even beyond that. We should be asking and really caring about how the other person is doing. On the other side, be willing to share if we are not doing so hot. How can a person encourage another if neither admit when they are going through a rough time. Now granted I don’t think that every time a person says, “How are you?” we should have to go through a long explanation of how we are, but I think we should try to be honest. I don’t know just a personal opinion. I kind of get irritated at the “fine” answer, especially when you can tell they are anything but “fine”

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