Devotional & Reflection

Week 2, July 2002

Genesis 20 - Half Truth Stinks & Stings
By Pang Hee Hung, Director & Trainer, Katartizo Resources (NZ) & Ezra Resources

Gen 20:1b -2 For a while he stayed in Gerar, and there Abraham said of his wife Sarah, "She is my sister." Then Abimelech king of Gerar sent for Sarah and took her.
Gen 20:3 But God came to Abimelech in a dream one night and said to him, "You are as good as dead because of the woman you have taken; she is a married woman."

Have we ever told a half-truth justifying ourselves that a half-truth is better than a white lie? After all a half-truth is still the truth.

All seems okay - not till you become a victim of half-truths, that is. You will probably be stung by it. This is because half-truths mislead and deceive us more readily since there is an element of truth, which lends to its credibility.

In this passage, we find Abraham telling a half-truth. Yes, Sarah was his sister (Gen 20:12). But he did not mention that she was also his wife. He had used this ruse before in Egypt (Gen 12:13) with embarrassing consequences (see earlier devotion). It was by God's grace that Abraham was not severely disciplined for deception a second time as God wanted to fulfill His promise to Abraham and bring forth a line of descendants through Abraham and Sarah. So this incident does not served as a license to deceive or to tell half-truths.

One wonders how Abimelech would have felt being deceived. What's more is that he could have been severely punished by God for something he was deceived into. God told Abimelech that he is as good as dead for taking Sarah, a married woman. If I were Abimelech, I would be shocked, stunned and stung. This half-truth racket stinks.

Furthermore, this deception was committed by Abraham - a man of God!!! A man of faith (Heb 11:8). All this is hard to swallow. When a man of God tells half-truths and exaggerates don't be surprised and don't lose faith. When he misleads and harms others, there is nothing righteous about it. The Bible has nothing to hide - the faith and feats of the faithful - as well as their flaws, fears and failures. It actually shows that in spite of our faithlessness, flaws, fears and failures, He remains faithful.

What about the victim then? Must he suffer for it?

Generally when men sin, others suffer as was the case of Cain murdering Abel, who was an innocent victim. In Genesis 20, God however warned Abimelech in a dream of the situation and knows of his clear conscience (Gen 20:3, 6). Abimelech did what was right early the next morning when he returned Sarah to Abraham.

1. In instances when you were tempted to tell half-truths in trying to win the sales order, what would be the short-term benefits (more sales, higher pay, promotion) and long-term consequences?
2. If an advertiser or marketing manager or CEO were to tell you a half-truth and you act on his / her half-truth, how would you react when you learn the whole truth?
3. If a company accounts were half truths and not representative of whole truths who do you think suffer/s?
4. When you have to cover up matters for your company or organisation you work with, how is it best done without resolving to telling half truths?

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