Read Genesis 12:10-20
It’s Never Right To Do Wrong (and Ignorance is No Excuse)
Have you ever heard the term “situational ethics”? It is the idea that it is okay to do something that is wrong as long as you benefit from it and no real harm is done. It is summed up in the phrase, “The end justifies the means.”
When Abram entered Egypt, he was worried for his life. His wife Sarai was very beautiful, and Abram believed he would be killed so that she would be free from their marriage bond. To prevent this, Abram convinced Sarai to tell people she was his sister rather than his wife. Abram viewed this as an act of self-preservation, thus justifying in his mind the need to lie about their relationship.
Pharaoh was smitten by Sarai, and Abram supposedly reaped the benefits of this deception. God, however, punished Pharaoh, even though what he did was done in ignorance. Abram and Sarai’s deception caused another to suffer the wrath of God even though they did not have complete information.
We learn two important lessons from this incident. First, it’s never right to do wrong. Yes, we may see some temporary benefit to a lie, but in the long run it will ruin our soul. Liars are among those who “shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8). Any benefit we may gain from deception in this life will pale in comparison to the punishment we will receive eternally.
Second, we will have to answer for our sins, even those done in ignorance. That is why it is so important to study the Scriptures and apply them to our lives. Don’t just read a chapter and close the Bible feeling accomplished. Study the Bible, seeking to understand what it says and how you can put it into practice.
The Son of God said, “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day” (John 12:48). In other words, ignorance is no excuse.
If you are not engaged in an organized Bible study, I encourage you to get involved with the local church of Christ. If there is no local congregation in your area, enroll in online courses through the World Video Bible School (school.wvbs.org) or a similar sound program.