A sin to lie about liking a present?

Someone mentioned in a post here that it is always a sin to lie… regardless of the scenario. So I got to thinking.

Lets say a family friend of yours gives you a present, and they sit and watch as you open it. Once you open it, and you see that it is a painting that is meant to be hung up on your wall. Home decor. Furthermore, it was painted by the person who is giving it to you! But you think the painting is extremely ugly and does not at all match your style. Basically, you hate it. The friend then asks… “do you like it??”

Would it really be a sin to say “yes?”

You’re being courteous by responding “yes.” However, if it is a sin, you can avoid the sin by answering indirectly and honestly, saying “It was so nice of you to think of me by buying this gift.”

Of course it is. So you don’t.
You say:
Oh, I couldn’t possibly accept something that’s so valuable! (they think it is)
Oh, it’s so well executed! (they think it is)
Oh, would you be offended if I donated it to “such and such” place? (they’ll be flattered)

Or, you just smile and say thank you.
And you hang it only when they come over.
Put it in the guest room where no one goes. :shrug:
Sometimes you have to be gracious. But that’s not an excuse to lie.

If they persist, asking over and over, you say, thank you so much, words escape me. You are too kind. Really. I’m speechless.
Liking something is subjective. People can readily see what your tastes are.
If you feel compelled to be brutally honest, you do so. You say:
You know, it’s so well done, but as you can see it’s not really my style. What means MORE to me is your love, friendship, and that you thought enough of me to use your creative gifts for a gift for me. I’m so touched. You really are a true friend. (a great cousin,etc.) Nothing can compare with the fact that you have done something so amazing for me. Wow. I can’t believe this kindness.

Yep. It’s a sin. Not a serious sin, but a sin nonetheless. Even if it wasn’t, it’s still incredibly wussy. Art is so subjective that one can’t really expect someone to like a particular piece, and making someone a piece of art with the intent that it be displayed prominently in your house is presumptuous if not downright chutzpah. I’d like to think I could pick friends that would never put me in such a spot.

Hm, thank you for the responses guys… Ill definitely thing about it.

But as it stands I simply cannot agree that God would be offended/upset at me for having answered yes to a question about liking their present. :frowning:

God will be upset that you purposely chose to deceive.
There’s really no such thing as a little white lie. Lies are contagious. Once we tell fibs, if you will, it’s far easier to lie about larger things that may hurt us or others.
It’s just best not to do it. If you child was asking the same thing, what would you say?
It’s ok to tell mom you were at the movies when you were really at a friend’s house?
Those are lies. The lie impacts the person it is told to. One can be gracious without hurting another or God. Remember, we see Christ in others, right? That might make the truth easier to cope with. Anyway, the truth is always the most compassionate way to deal with things.

Just say, “Oh, how wonderful! A painting that you painted! How lovely of you to give it to me!”

When asked, just find one nice thing and gush about it (OK, guys, don’t do this!)

Do you like my new dress?

You look so happy!

Do you like the gift?

Such a wonderful color… People are saying great stuff about this book (surely the author’s friends are!)…

The offense is that by lying, one is demonstrating that they fear Man rather than God. And that is always a deadly road.

I will consider and pray about the position, but I simply cannot agree.

As for the question about a future child, I will tell me child that it is wrong to tell lies, yes, but that as we grow up we develop a well informed conscience that will help us determine when lying is no big deal… like when we answer yes when someone asks us if we like a present, or when we say no when asked by a and of burglars/killers if there is anyone else in the house.

Lying is intrinsically wrong and we have that from Our Lord Himself. Remember that our knowledge of Him comes entirely from the eyewitness testimony of the Apostles. And if we entertain for a nanosecond that they believed that “lying for a good cause” was acceptable, then our Faith is in vain and the whole foundation crumbles.

When I was in high school, my mom bought me a letterman’s jacket for Christmas. (I don’t think kids even wear those anymore.)

As soon as I opened it, I knew something was wrong. Couldn’t put my finger on it at first. Then I realized it was the wrong one. It was the jacket that kids had worn about ten years earlier. My dad shot me a glance that told me, ‘Like it.’

I only wore it two or three times, and each time kids would call out, 'Hey! Where’d you get *that *jacket?!"

I put it away until college. I wore it in college a few times because it was really comfortable and it was safe to wear it there.

My mom was so proud of my having that jacket that there was no way I was going to break her heart. To this day, 30-some years later, I haven’t told her.

How about a bigger lie. Are you hiding Christians, Jews etc so we can haul them out & kill them?

Thanks for the story. I would point out that withholding a truth is not the same as lying.

There are ways around this too by means of withholding the truth rather than explicitly lying. Sometimes a sin of omission (not in your particular example) can be as bad as a sin of commission, however, depending on the person’s intent. At the same time, Judaism has a whole different take on lying compared to Catholicism.

Perhaps there is a distinction to be drawn between liking it as a present and liking it as a painting. :stuck_out_tongue:

With all the people killing, robbing, living together with no thought of marriage, etc., I can’t believe God is going to convict anyone of sin for sparing a friend’s feelings by saying yes they like a gift! :eek:
You mention your child asking the same thing…If your 5 yr. old makes something for you in kindergarten & asks," do you like it, Mommy?" Will your answer be , " that’s the ugliest & poorly made thing I ever saw?"
Now I think that would be a sin.

Ok that’s melodramatic²

We are Christians uder Grace, not Pharisees. Lying to protect an innocent person is not destroying the foundation of the Faith or anything like that. If that were the case every person during WWII who protected Jews in their home and lied to the SS or Gestapo about it may be burning in hell because of it. Or every parent in Iraq who lies to ISIS about not having children to protect them from having their heads cut off is sinning against God. Not only was it not a sin in these cases it’s a perfectly loving and appropriate thing to do. In fact in these cases telling the truth would be the sin.

In Judaism, the impact on the individual’s feelings factors into the decision whether or not to lie. Generally, one need not be brutally honest.

Don’t worry, your instincts are 100% right on this one.

It would be a sin to say you liked the gift when you didn’t. However there are kind ways to get around this without lying. However, if they expect this gift to be hung on the wall you may just need to say that you really don’t care for the painting…so honesty is better with this possibility looming.

When something like this has happened to me I have managed to simply thank the person for their kindness and thoughts as well as the gift. I have been able to avoid stating my like or dislike of the gift in question by doing this. If I was put on the spot however, I would simply tell them that I really did not like the gift. (As in a picture to hang on a wall.) If it did not fit in with my other decor I would use that reason to find another way to deal with putting the picture up someplace else.

Things like clothing can be traded in or exchanged, and this is easier as size can be an issue, or color, or fabric etc. Honestly this is one reason I like gift cards. I can pick and choose what I need or want. I think they are perfectly fine for a gift.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.