We know that lying to one another is wrong (Leviticus 19:11), but what about telling white lies? A white lie is a small lie—just stretching the truth a little. We don’t mean to hurt anyone, in fact we do it so that we won’t hurt the other person.

Lying is telling something that is not true, with the intention to deceive others. White lies, on the other hand, might be partly true, or we just don’t mention everything. After all white lies seem polite, and it’s not like we personally gain anything much from it. White lies can help ease relationships between people, reduce agitation and bring peace. Besides, what other people don’t know won’t hurt them.

So, is a small sin like telling a white lie no big deal? For the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23); we know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning (1 John 5:18). All sins are equally offensive to God and we should avoid it in our lives.

Perhaps we think that the “ends” justify the “means”. But God does not leave any room for doubt—all lying is wrong, no exceptions (Proverbs 6:16-19). Besides, who determines that the ends are justified, and who is it good for exactly?

Do we tell white lies just to make others feel good and not hurt their feelings? Lying to people is a very disrespectful way of not hurting their feelings. In the end, you just become known as a liar who cannot be trusted. If you tell one lie, you have to tell more lies to cover up the original lie. We also often use white lies to help ourselves. It’s part of our desire for self-interest (1 John 2:16). However, peace and truth can come together, it’s just that truth needs more work.

Those who lie, even telling small white lies, damage their own credibility. Truthfulness is precious to God (Proverbs 12:22), and it should be precious to us too.