What If Telling the Truth Causes Harm?

I wanted to do a follow up on yesterday's sermon on truth based on a few questions asked afterwards.  One question asked was, "What happens when telling the truth might hurt or harm someone?" Or rephrased, "What happens if truth telling introduces a moral dilemma?"  A moral dilemma is in fact, a choice between two competing (and apparently conflicting) moral claims.

- For instance, if you are living in WW 2 Europe and are hiding Jews in your house and the Nazi's show up and ask, "Are you hiding Jews?", the moral dilemma is between telling the truth and exposing those hiding to harm.

- A simpler version of this is if someone asks you if you think they look fat in this shirt or if you like their hair cut. To tell the truth may in fact hurt them.  So, what do you do when telling the truth could harm or hurt someone?

 In the former question, one might ask, "What is the most loving thing I could do? Or what would Jesus do if he were me?"  I think it is safe to safe that love is the highest ethic in NT ("over all these virtues, put on love" - Co. 3:14). It is hard to imagine that love would like like exposing those hiding to harm.

The second question is a little trickier. Do we owe those we love an honest response? I think the question we might ask is, "What are they really asking for. Do they just want a little affirmation or are they really asking your opinion?"  We could go further and ask, "Do we cause them more harm or future harm in not telling  them what might be a hard truth?"

At the end of the day, you are still asking the same question... What does love look like? And if you felt like the truth was called for, what would speaking the truth in love look like?

Well, after re reading this, I'm not sure how much further we've gotten in our exploration of truth... perhaps only that if your intent is to love, I believe God will give wisdom as to how to act in the most loving fashion.

Grace & Peace

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