How Do I Love Someone Who Is Really Wrong?

How Do I Love Someone Who Is Really Wrong? LIVE Q&A with David Guzik for August 24, 2023

How do I love someone who is really wrong?

How do we guard against the feelings of enmity like hatred for those we believe are wrong on spiritual matters and stand our ground in truth?

I think this is a good question about a very tough issue. I’ll talk about it in terms of a few principles.

First, we will have enemies, but our call is to love those enemies. Let me read to you a familiar passage from Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount.
Matthew 5:43-47 – You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so?

These are obviously some very challenging words from Jesus, as He straightforwardly tells us to love our enemies. A person who is wrong on spiritual matters, teaching false doctrines, or even a heretic could be considered our enemies in some regard. By the way, I love the realism of Jesus here. One approach to dealing with enemies is by pretending that we don’t have them, but that’s never the approach of Jesus or of the Bible. The Bible acknowledges that you will have enemies, but your duty as a believer, as a Christian, is to love them, to do good to those who hate you, and to pray for them. And your pattern for doing this is God Himself. Jesus said that God makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good. He sends rain on the just and on the unjust. So, if God in some way loves those who are evil or unjust, then we are responsible to love them as well.

This occasion in Matthew 5 where Jesus spoke about loving your enemies is based off a command in Leviticus 19:18 – You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.

However, there were some teachers in the days of Jesus who took that verse to mean, “I will love my neighbor and hate my enemy.” But Jesus spoke against that very plainly. The command goes all the way back to the Old Testament that you should love your neighbor as yourself. Therefore, it was important to define who is your neighbor. Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan to illustrate the principle of who our neighbor is.

Biblically speaking, we as Christians aren’t allowed to divide the world into those whom we love and those whom we hate. Now, there is a sense in which we can divide the world into those who are true and those who are false, and at least in some sense we can divide the world into those who are right and those who are wrong. Friends, those who say, “Jesus Christ is not God,” are wrong. I cannot express it more clearly than that they are wrong. And that’s just all there is to it. We can stay very calm and confident about that. If you believe Jesus is God, according to what the Scriptures teach, and someone else teaches that Jesus is not God in defiance of the Scriptures, it’s entirely right for you to say, “I’m right, and you’re wrong.” However, however, you still have to love them.

When you stand for the truth, you are going to gain some enemies as a result. Yet you are called to love even those enemies that you gain. So, how do we love our enemies? I think Jesus explained at least a little bit about how we love our enemies when He described this back in Matthew 5. He said, “Bless those who curse you.” Find a way to bless them. Pray for them. Jesus said, “Pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” Pray for them. Look for ways to bless them. Do good for them. Find a way to do something good for them. Consider what is good about that person, and not only what is bad or wrong about them. Now, I’m not telling you to forget about their error or what they’re wrong about. It’s okay for you to remember that. In fact, it’s even good for you to remember that. But consider their good as well and consider your thoughts about them. Don’t allow your mind to go off on extended times of dreaming of their downfall and destruction.

And friends, I’ll confess something to you right here. There have been times in my life when I have been so filled with hatred of some kind or another towards somebody else that I would dream of their downfall. I would fantasize about their destruction. And friends, that’s wrong. That was a sin for me to do. We have no business doing that as the children of God. We need to control our thoughts about those who are enemies, and not allow ourselves to go off on these extended times where we dream about their downfall and destruction. In simple ways, we are to act towards them as we would want them to act towards us. I’m going to touch on that point again, in just a moment here. But let me deal with the dynamic where we do these things.

I’ll give an example. Let’s say I’m in conflict with another person. A conflict could arise about many things, but for example’s sake let’s say they are very adamant that Jesus Christ is not God. And let’s say I’m sticking to what the Bible says that Jesus Christ is God, and I’m doing all those right things: I pray for them, I look for ways to bless them, I look for a way to do good for them, I consider their good and not only their bad, and I’m controlling my thoughts. Even though I’m trying to do all those things, let’s say feelings of hatred or animosity against them still rise up.

So, to get my heart and mind in the right place for this, in the strength of Jesus, I’m taking every thought captive to Christ. I’m thinking as I should regarding an enemy. And let’s say that lasts for a couple of hours, or even 24 hours. But a day later, I’m thinking the same rotten thoughts about them again. What do I do then? Well, just like anything in the battle of the mind, you have to remain persistent. You have to do it, and then keep doing it. This is just one of the characteristics of the battle that we have in our mind.

Loving our enemies is also remembering the golden rule. Now, it’s not called the golden rule in the Scriptures. But that’s the common term for what Jesus said when asked about the greatest commandment (see Matthew 22:37-39) Jesus said, do to your neighbor as you would want them to do to you. We call that the golden rule.

The question is, if you were wrong about something, how would you want to be confronted? If you were stubbornly wrong about something, how would you want people to treat you? If somebody had rotten thoughts about you, which could definitely happen, then what would you want them to do with those thoughts? Do you see what I’m getting at here? Treat others the way you would want them to treat you. We have to consider this when in disagreement with others. If you were wrong about something, how would you want other people to treat you?

The first principle is to love your enemies as Jesus commanded. The second principle is to remember the golden rule. The third principle is to stay humble. Friend, don’t forget that you have been wrong about plenty of things. I know I have. The person with whom I disagree is not the only one who’s ever been wrong about something. In fact, it’s possible that you or I could be wrong about some things right now. Take a moment to consider that the person who is your enemy may be asking the same questions right now about you. Maybe right now they’re wondering, “How do I love that person who is so wrong?” I don’t say that to knock you off your place of truth. I’m just saying, stay humble in your pursuit of truth. Finally, stand your ground, but do it in love. Like Athanasius of old, we want to stand our ground on a truth as important as the deity of Jesus Christ, even if the whole world should believe in opposition to it. We stand our ground about biblical truth, but we do it in love.

If you are standing on some matter of biblical truth, to the best of your ability, remain standing. At the same time, be open for more data. Maybe there are some passages or perspectives that you haven’t noticed. But don’t fall into the trap of abandoning truth for the sake of sympathy. Don’t fall into the trap of abandoning truth for the sake of pretended kindness. Pretended kindness is no kindness at all.

Long ago, there was an Anglican bishop named George Horne. I love what he said about sin because it’s also true regarding error. This comes from his commentary on the Psalms; I think he wrote this on Psalm 139. He said, “We are neither to hate the men on account of the vices which they practice, nor to love the vices for the sake of the men who practice them.” Substituting the concept of wickedness or vices with error, let me paraphrase it like this, “We are neither to hate the men on account of the errors they believe, nor to love the errors for the sake of the men who practice them.” Friends, we must remain strong in the truth, but we need to do it in love.

Number one, remember Jesus’ command that we are to love our enemies. Number two, remember the golden rule do unto your neighbor as you would want them to do to you. Number three, stay humble. And number four, stand your ground, but stand your ground in love.

Does the Bible ever refer to Mary Magdalene as a prostitute? Where does this suspicion / idea come from?

No, the Bible never refers to Mary Magdalene as a prostitute. Never. Now, the Bible does say in Mark 16:9 and Luke 8:2 that Jesus had cast seven demons out of Mary Magdalene. But nowhere does it say that she’s a prostitute. I don’t know where that story came from, to be honest. But you’re absolutely right. Many people commonly say that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute, but nowhere in the Bible does it say that. So, get that out of your mind.

She was demon-possessed. She did live in the village of Magdala, which by the way, is a place where many Israel tours visit. The village of Magdala has had some really spectacular discoveries in recent years, and it’s a great sight to see in Israel.

Next year, in October 2024, we are going to lead an Enduring Word trip to Israel. More details will be announced about the trip very soon. I’m pretty sure one of the places we’re going to visit is Magdala. You can see the ruins of the synagogue and some of the ruins of the village where Mary Magdalene was from and where Jesus visited.

But again, the Bible does not say anything about Mary Magdalene being a prostitute. I have no idea where that comes from, other than that maybe some people associated a demon-possessed woman with being a prostitute. But there’s no obvious link there either. At least biblically speaking, we can clear Mary Magdalene’s reputation on that one, because there is just no hint of it in the Bible.

Is there biblical support for a person to die and come back from the dead? If so, do they claim to have seen or spoken to Jesus while dead?

I don’t see any biblical support for a person to die and come back from the dead, do you? Many make this claim and say they saw and spoke to Jesus.

Yes, there is the biblical precedent for a person dying and coming back from the dead. There are a few occasions in the Bible when people other than Jesus died and came back to life. There was the daughter of the ruler of the synagogue, as recorded in the Gospels (see Mark 5 and Luke 8). There was the widow’s son in the ministry of Jesus (see Luke 7:12-15). There was the raising of the widow’s son by Elijah (see 1 Kings 17). There was the raising of Dorcas or Tabitha in the book of Acts (see Acts 9:36-41). There was the raising of Eutychus, the young man who fell from the window as Paul was preaching in Troas (see Acts 20:7-12). So, there are several instances in the Bible, several in the New Testament, one or two in the Old Testament, of people being dead and coming back to life. The most dramatic of all is the resuscitation of Lazarus by Jesus in the Gospel of John (see John 11).

But in none of those cases is there a record or emphasis or revelation of what those people experienced while they were dead. You’re just not going to find it. It’s nowhere in there. Therefore, I think it is very unwise for Christians to give much attention at all to these claims. So, I’m going to agree with you that this isn’t something for Christians to give attention to.

I do believe that it has happened biblically, and it can happen again, that people could be genuinely dead, and God could bring them back to life. Now, I’m not referring to the resurrection that awaits all believers, because resurrection is being raised in a body that will never die. Rather, this is what I would call resuscitation, somebody being raised in their own body which is still subject to death.

But this idea of people dying and having heavenly visions that they explained to others is not in the Bible. Paul explains the heavenly vision that he had; John presents Revelation as a heavenly vision he had; Isaiah gives record of a heavenly vision; and probably Ezekiel as well with some of his visions. But none of those are presented as being from people who were dead.

There has been some outright fraud and corruption having to do with such supposed reports. These are things that Christians should keep a distance from and just shouldn’t give attention to. Here’s how I see it. If somebody truly were to die, have some kind of experience of heaven, be resuscitated to life back in their own body, and personally tell me about it, I want you to know that it would not make heaven one bit more precious to me. Not at all.

Heaven and the life beyond are precious to me because of what the Bible says. I don’t need somebody else’s explanation to make it precious to me.

What happens to people who die during the millennial reign? Do they get glorified bodies like the saints? Are they able to reproduce during or after the millennial reign?

We can answer some of these things on a biblical basis, but some of them we can’t. As usual, I’ll give my eschatological disclaimer that many Christians disagree on this. Historically, many Christians and churches believe that we are in the millennium right now. I know that seems fantastical. As one Bible preacher I know says, “The Bible describes Satan being bound with a chain during this period of the millennium. And if Satan is bound, he must have a very long chain.” He certainly doesn’t seem to be bound in a complete sense at this time. I’m going to answer this question from my eschatological perspective. I understand that my perspective is not shared by the entire body of Christ, either in the past or in the present.

Are people able to reproduce the in or after the millennium? Yes, because the Bible speaks of children in the millennium. Therefore, I believe they are able to reproduce. What happens when they die? If they have trusted in Christ, I think they’re resurrected. And maybe they begin in the management phase, but who knows exactly? The Bible doesn’t speak to us about that. But people will be born and will die during the Millennium. It’s just that they will have extremely long lifespans. The long lifespans that seemed to mark the beginning of humanity will also mark the end of humanity, as evidenced in the millennial reign. So yes, because the Bible does speak of children and the millennial reign, I believe there will be children, and that people will be able to reproduce.

Life for the citizens of earth during the millennial reign will be in many ways much more like life right now than we think. But it will be perfectly administered, reigned over, and ruled by Jesus Christ as King. Jesus Christ will reign over all the earth in the period of time we call the Millennium that is to come.

Do Ephesians 6:12 and Romans 13:1 contradict each other?

Are these verses contradicting each other? Ephesians 6:12 said we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, but in Romans 13:1, it says the opposite?

Ephesians 6:12 – For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Romans 13:1 – Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.

Ephesians 6:12 is speaking of conflict, battle, and warfare that is spiritual in nature, and not flesh and blood in nature. It refers to a spiritual battle against spiritual entities. On the other hand, Romans 13:1 is speaking of flesh and blood authorities, the governing authorities that we deal with day to day right now, such as the mayor, the city council, the legislature, the police, or whatever it would be.

Ephesians 6:12 is talking about spiritual warfare and relating to the spiritual realm, while Romans 13:1 is speaking about the flesh and blood realm right here. So, there is no contradiction. It’s just speaking about different realms.

Is the writer of Psalm 75 speaking figuratively about avenging himself on his enemies?

Does the author of Psalm 75 have the power to do what they were talking about, especially in verse 10? Does God approve of it? ​Is the author speaking figuratively? David usually waited on the Lord to avenge him from his enemies and the ungodly…

Psalm 75:10 – “All the horns of the wicked I will also cut off, but the horns of the righteous shall be exalted.”

You are correct that David usually waited on the Lord to avenge him from his enemies and from the ungodly. But Psalm 75 is not a Psalm of David. It’s a Psalm of Asa. David did not author every psalm.

I believe that the speaker in Psalm 75:10 is the Lord Himself. It is indicated by quotation marks in the New King James Version. By the way, verses 8-9 are strongly prophetic about the cup of the Lord being drunk. But I think it is the Lord speaking in verse 10, describing God’s work of judgment. God is saying that He would do that, and it is spoken in the voice of the Lord directly. It’s God’s proclamation.

I believe God speaks through His word. Does He also speak audibly?

Any advice on how God speaks? I just taught a study about the Word being how God speaks, and my invited speaker said God had audibly spoken to them.

I think you’ve done the right thing in pointing people to the word of God in seeking God’s voice. Now, I do believe that God can communicate to us outside of His word. I don’t believe it’s the only way that God communicates. But I will avoid Dan the word “speak,” because I don’t think anybody should expect to hear the audible voice of God. I’m not saying it’s impossible for God to speak with an audible voice. There are a few occasions in the Scriptures when He did that. But I believe it’s very important for us to not anticipate it.

If somebody is really wishing to hear God’s audible voice, sometimes all they think about is, “I want to hear the voice of God, I want to hear God’s audible voice, please let me hear God’s audible voice.” If that’s their mentality, I think they could actually be opening themselves up to deception. It is possible that a deceiving voice could come in and supply the voice they’re looking for. Not necessarily, but it’s possible.

I tell people all the time, “If you want to hear a word from God, open His word.” I’ve also had occasions in my own life when I do believe that God has communicated to me through a prophetic word, or through the counsel and advice of others, or through an inward voice, not something which I could audibly hear, but something I just “heard” in my mind. But don’t put yourself out where you’re seeking to hear some supernatural voice of God. If God wants to communicate to you in that way, He’s more than capable of doing it, and you won’t have to manufacture it in any way.

That’s my advice on how God speaks. I do believe that God is able to communicate with people outside of His word. For example, the conviction of sin can be a communication from God outside His word. We shouldn’t seek the voice of God outside of reading and seeking the revelation given through His Word, but we understand that God may communicate a word of the Lord that is proven to be His word, as He has done in my life on several occasions.

How can I overcome sin? I want to change but I keep sinning.

How can I overcome sin? I feel as though it’s hard to stop. I ask God to help me and change me. However, I keep sinning. I don’t want to. I want to change – how can I?

God bless you. Thank you for your passion and desire to obey God and honor Him. Obedience to God isn’t legalism. We shouldn’t feel that we’re getting legalistic if we simply want to obey God.

To answer your question about how to overcome sin, I would recommend that you make a dedicated study of Romans 5-8. In those chapters, especially Romans 6, Paul addresses the Christian life, whether a Christian should care about habitual sin, and then whether a Christian should care about occasional sin. You can read my commentary on Romans 6 here. Look at Romans 5-8, but give a special emphasis to Romans 6.

The key to your overcoming sin is to really realize the new person that Jesus Christ has made you. He’s made you a new person. You are a new man or woman in Jesus Christ. And now you are simply trying to live out the new life that Jesus Christ has given you in Him. Wouldn’t that be a wonderful thing, just to live out the newness of life that He’s given you?

There is a lot more to addressing the problems of habitual sin in our life and breaking those patterns. But you’ll find wonderful direct guidance in Romans 5-8. Take a look at my commentary on this and find out how God graciously deals with sin in the life of the believer. Thank you for your heart in wanting to walk in obedience to God. That’s more than half the battle right there. God is going to work in your life because you want to please Him. God bless you in that.

​Do you feel the nation of Israel is justified in whatever they do to push the other nations out of the land?

I’m going to assume that you’re speaking about modern Israel. Israel as a nation is responsible before God today. God cares about how Israel treats its neighboring nations. Like any nation, Israel has a right to be concerned with and to promote its own security. I think every nation has that right. But they’re also responsible to do it in a way that, as much as possible, does their very best to minimize damages which impact civilians, and to deal with other people justly and fairly.

The nation of Israel has a responsibility to do that. But it’s not easy. It’s not easy to deal with a security situation where you have enemies from without, and you have at least some enemies from within. That’s a very difficult situation. As far as I’m concerned, the Israeli government gets a lot of sympathy from me in dealing with those challenges. But they are responsible to deal with their neighboring nations and with their own citizens in an appropriate and just way before God.

God requires this of all nations. He doesn’t require it of Israel because they are His chosen people. He requires it from every nation. Every nation is required by God to rule rightly. And God reserves the right to judge nations that do not do so. He has judged Israel throughout their history when they were chronically unjust towards other people. He has judged other nations in history who were chronically unjust to others, both beyond their borders and within their borders.

I believe Israel has a place in God’s unfolding plan of the ages. But that does not in any way mean that everything the modern nation of Israel does is just and good. No, they need to follow God’s perspective on those things. God will hold them to account just as He would hold any nation to account for those things.

Does Jesus’ knowledge of the future impact our free will?

How do you respond to the notion that Jesus’s knowledge of the future cannot coexist with our libertarian free will?

I’m not going to present myself as an expert on these matters. This area of theological and philosophical investigation doesn’t interest me all that much. But I know that men and women have real choices. To be honest, I don’t like using the phrase free will. It’s not that I’ll never use it, but I don’t like to use it, because I think there’s a good argument to be made that nobody’s will is completely free, especially as fallen men and women.

So, I avoid the phrase free will. Instead, I prefer to use the phrase real choices. Whether or not a person has absolutely free will, they still have real choices. That’s what it comes down to for me. I believe men and women have real choices. But I also believe that God has a predetermined plan that He’s working out throughout history. God isn’t hoping that things turn out. He knows where things are going. And He knows how to guide things in that direction.

Understanding that Jesus has knowledge of the future is no different than God’s knowledge of anything in the future. If God wasn’t in charge of history, then there could be no prophecy in the Bible. You might argue, “God couldn’t prophesy that the Messiah was going to be born in Bethlehem. Because what if the parents of the Messiah decided they didn’t want to go to Bethlehem?” I would answer that God knows how to guide these things, without violating the real choices that men and women make.

Again, I don’t have much interest in this area. I know that both of these principles are true: God has a sovereign, predetermined plan that He’s working out through history, and men and women have real choices, not fake or robotic choices. How those two principles come together and intersect, I don’t know. I’m entirely fine with leaving that up to the area of mystery.

​What do the Scriptures mean by “the falling away”?

Can you help me understand what the Scriptures mean about “the falling away”? I’m so scared that I will become deceived and fall away.

The Scriptures you should be most concerned about are those which speak about falling from grace.

Your moral obedience in and of itself did not save you, and your moral disobedience in and of itself will not damn you, or make you lose your salvation. Let me explain.

We’re not saved because we earn it. We don’t lose salvation because we “un-earn” it. But what’s of concern is falling from grace. That means no longer trusting in Jesus Christ and His finished work as the source of our salvation, our sanctification, and our being in right relationship with God. That’s what the believer should fear.

Now, I won’t say that the two aren’t related. If a person no longer trusts in Jesus Christ (and what He did for them on the cross as the basis of their right standing before God), if they stop trusting in Jesus and they lose their faith, it often leads to immoral behavior. But that’s a symptom, not the cause.

What should we do? Just abide in Jesus today. Every day, make it your pattern to trust in Jesus, to trust in who He is and what He did to save you, especially what He did at the cross and His resurrection. Make it your point to do that all over again every day. That’s what you need to do. Don’t feel like you’re walking on a razor’s edge of saved or not saved. Instead, focus on the greatness of Jesus, who He is, and what He did, especially what He did at the cross.

There can be a trap which believers fall into, where they become overly introspective. There is no problem with a believer looking at their own life and considering it. The Bible encourages us to do that. But a person can become overly introspective. They wonder, “Oh, am I saved today? I had a bad thought. Maybe I’m not saved anymore.” I pray that the Lord would guard you from that excessive introspection.

​If I lead someone to Christ and they backslide or fall away, should I feel guilty?

If I lead someone to Christ and they backslide or fall away, should I feel guilty?

Only if you gave them a very incomplete gospel. Only if you gave them a gospel with no warning of hardship, and no idea that the Christian life is a death to self. Of course, it is also receiving innumerable benefits from God, but it includes death to self. If you failed to mention those things, then I think maybe you should feel a little guilty. We know that all this is in God’s hands ultimately. But it may be right to feel a little guilty and realize that we need to be clearer in how we speak to people about Jesus Christ.

How can I build a strong faith? Are there different levels or types of faith?

How many different “levels/types of faith” would you say there are? A minimum of a saving faith though full gift of faith with things in between?  How do you build your level of faith? I understand that “gift of faith” is a gift, but how to build the strongest possible faith you can?

I’ll give you two ways to build your faith. First, spend more time in God’s word. How much time? More than you are now. The Bible says in Romans 10:17 that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. That’s what the Bible says, so we can take it as true. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. That’s our foundation for faith. The more understanding we have of His word, and the more His word fills our heart and our mind, God continues to build faith within us. That’s one way.

A second way in which you build faith is by exercising faith. Let me give you an illustration. When I was about 40 years old, we responded as a family to what we believe was God’s call for us to leave the church I had pastored for some 14 years in Southern California and go to Germany in order to start and direct a small international Bible college. Friends, that was a big step of faith for our family. Understanding that, it’s much easier for me to make other steps of faith now because God blessed it. God had His hand upon it. I’m not going to say that there were no problems, or that there was no price to pay, but overall, God blessed that step of faith. When we build our faith and exercise our faith, our faith gets stronger. It’s nothing really dramatic. We find out that God can be trusted, and therefore we trust Him more.

Which book of the Bible was the most difficult for you to write a commentary on? Which book was the most enlightening?

The most difficult was Proverbs. Now, writing my commentary on the book of Proverbs was not as difficult as I thought it would be. Proverbs is unique because throughout most of the book, there’s no real context. It’s one standalone statement followed by another, which makes it very different than the other books of the Bible. Being so different than other books in the Bible made it a true challenge, although I must say it was not as challenging as I thought it would be. Once I was in the rhythm of it, I really enjoyed it. So, Proverbs was the most difficult or challenging book for me to write a commentary on.

Asking me the most enlightening book is like asking me to pick my favorite child. I don’t have a favorite child. I love my children. Every one of them is a wonderful person and a blessing to be around. It’s the same with books of the Bible for me. But I will say that going through the Psalms was very meaningful for me. I wrote more than 1100 pages of commentary through the Psalms. My video teaching through the Psalms on YouTube channel is more than 100 hours long, taking each of the 150 Psalms one by one, and giving them a good fair treatment. There was something very meaningful for me in doing the admittedly hard work of going through all the Psalms.

Is it ever okay to lie if the ends justify the means? Abraham, Rahab, and Samson lied for seemingly good reasons.

Your question is difficult, but I’ll give you a straight answer. It’s an unpopular answer with some. If this answer offends you, I hope you’ll allow me to explain. I do think there are times when lying is justified, when it would be worse to tell the truth than to lie.

Now, I hesitate to say that because every liar is searching for justification for their sin. People like that will claim justification when there is none. Nevertheless, I would say that there are certain situations where lying is justified. Rahab was justified in lying to preserve the life of the Hebrew spies who visited her in Jericho. The sin of betraying them would have been worse than the sin of lying.

You also mentioned Abraham, but no, his lie was not good. Samson’s lie was also not good. There are rare times (but they do exist) where a lie is justified, because to tell the truth would lead to a worse sin than the sin of lying. Now that is “strong meat,” a hard truth. People find it easier to say, “No, we can never justify lying, ever, ever, ever.” But I don’t think that the Bible displays that. And I don’t believe that real life displays that. But I say that while very strongly recognizing that there are people who misuse that principle all the time, and use it to justify lies that they have no business saying.