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Little White Lies

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. Ephesians 4:15 (NIV)

Definition of a white lie (according to Merriam-Webster): a lie about a small or unimportant matter that someone tells to avoid hurting another person. Ex. He told a (little) white lie as his excuse for missing the party.

Years ago, my father was in the kitchen preparing dinner while my siblings and I sprawled on the living room floor playing a board game. We focused on our entertainment and ignored the ringing phone.

“Answer the phone!” Dad called out.
I ran past the couch to the mahogany pedestal table, grabbed the rotary phone, and answered.
“May I speak with your father?” the woman on the line asked. “My name is Mrs. Davis.”
I sat the receiver on the table and darted across the room. “Daddy, the phone is for you.”
“Who is it?”
“Mrs. Davis.”
 Groaning, dad slapped the wall. “No, can't talk to her now,” he shook his head. “Tell her I'm not here.”
“But that isn't true. You’re here, daddy.” 

My siblings and I watched as our father threw a dish towel over his shoulder, leaving his bubbling pots on the stove, and walked out the front door. “I just left the house,” he whispered while peeking into the foyer.

There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community (Proverbs 6:16-19 NIV).
We often refer to my father's telephone incident as telling a “little white lie.” Today, we can ghost people or send their calls to voicemail with modern technology. Then later make excuses as to why we couldn’t answer. But in the end, it’s all the same—white lies.

As the definition of the term "white lie" explains, people sometimes lie to avoid hurting people’s feelings. The term infers that not telling the truth under certain circumstances is insignificant and acceptable. While society may view white lies as innocent and trivial, it’s still lying. This is a problem because it’s a sin. The proper and noble response is to reply truthfully.

We may lie to deceive or create a false impression to avoid conflict. Yet, the Bible teaches us that we are to speak truthfully. If we lie to avoid hurting others and protect their feelings, it's still wrong in God’s eyes (Proverbs 6:16-19 NIV).


Lord, I don’t want to disappoint you. The problem is, I also don’t like disappointing people. Show me how to choose to please you because I want to model excellence in my communication. Thank you for forgiving me for the lies I may have told. Please let me know how to please you; I want to hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Your turn: Can you relate? Do you have a revelation regarding telling white lies that you would like to share? Any words of encouragement? We’d love to hear from you!

“White lie.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Mar. 2022.

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Arianna Dunn
Arianna Dunn
19 mar 2022

Thank you for sharing this, Evelyn! I can definitely relate with wanting to please others. I love the prayer about focusing our aim to please God instead. So true!

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Evelyn, you do an amazing job of helping us look inward so we can grow closer to God. I know many of us can relate to your telephone story! Keep on keeping our eyes on Jesus!

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