And Abimelech called Abraham and said to him, “What have you done to us? How have I offended you, that you have brought on me and on my kingdom a great sin?” (Genesis 20:9)
Ultimately, it was Abraham who put Abimelech in the position of potentially committing a great sin. When confronted, Abraham attempted to justify the deceit by arguing that Abimelech’s subjects did not fear God and that, technically, Sarah was his “sister” (most commentators believe that Sarah was Abraham’s niece, the daughter of his dead brother Haran. But the point is, though she was related, Abraham still did not tell the whole truth; and if its not the whole truth, what is it?
When all of my children were smaller, there was a constant visitor to our house by the name of “Not Me.” This guy showed up every time something got broken, spilled or misplaced. If we inquired as to how something ended up the way it did, inevitably “Not Me” was the responsible party. In those rare cases when he was not the guilty party, getting to the true story of what happened was usually met with justification and excuses.
It is our nature, unfortunately, to justify our actions even when those actions are questionable. It would appear that having great faith doesn’t necessarily exempt someone from that tendency. Abraham did this more than once in order to save his own skin even though it put Sarah and others in jeopardy.
In the end, Abimelech showered Abraham with gifts and invites him to sojourn there in an attempt to make everything right but we are left with this question: Is it appropriate to tell half-truths that benefit us while exposing others to complications that would have been otherwise avoided? As we have told our children, it is always better to tell the whole truth even if we know it might place us in a difficult circumstance. We have to trust our Father to help us through these difficult situations and not depend on our own schemes. As it is written:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Blessings and Shalom,