Forgiving a person who is lying to me

Something has been bothering for the past 1 month or so.

A very good friend of mine has been lying to me on a certain thing.

The story is as follows.

My good friend (for almost the past 2 years) is in her novitiate as a catholic nun in US.6 months back I discovered from a news paper online that has circa 1 million readers per day (online and print) that her community is a bit into Yoga.
In July 2015 my friend immediately after moving to US from her native country did mention in an email that she did her first yoga during a retreat arranged for her and other new entrants but it did not catch my attention then somehow. Now I wonder how on earth I missed that. The news article also had a picture of one of their sisters teaching yoga to the new entrants.(which included my friend too) I realize that there are plenty of arguments in favour and against Yoga (as a health and fitness option. I will not get into any such discussion here). When a catholic nun/Catholic nun congregation endorses Yoga like the way they did in the news article it is extremely dangerous as many people would think Yoga is “OK” and they start taking Yoga classes which could end up in them being drawn too the spiritual part of it which is not at all catholic. It leads people to Hinduism often. I have been trying to tell this to my friend and also to advise her to steer clear of Yoga as it CAN lead to disastrous effects. My friend does not live in the country where I live and she won’t be using a mobile phone for at least an year. So only form of communication is email.

Now I told her in April that I want to tell her many things about Yoga and invited her for an email conversation on this matter. My friend rejected this idea saying she is “very busy” until her formation ends (which will take another year) .So I suggested she listen to what I have to say.(listen to my monologue instead of a dialogue)
She kind of agreed but mid way through my email exchanges she asked me to stop trying to educate her about Yoga- the reason she is too busy to even read my emails. Reading my emails won’t take more than 30 mins. She said she will read after an year (i.e when her formation ends) The excuse is the most ridiculous part- “No time to read my Yoga emails and articles on Yoga that I send her”.Reading the articles on Yoga will take time, but I did not give assignment to read them and submit a report of her understandings with in next two weeks. All I said is go through them as and when she find some time but I did make it a point to ask her to find some time ocassionally to educate herself about Yoga and its dangers.It seems that my friend has “decided” that she will have no time for the next year. Basically what she is trying to do is to “silence” me with a ridiculous excuse.

However I occasionally find her posting photos of beautiful roses and blueberries etc…in her
FB etc… So she does have time.The funny part is she wrote to me on 3 occasions explaining why she does not have time to read my emails. The time taken to write those emails would have been enough for her to read my emails. In one email I sent her plenty of articles to read her about Yoga.She does not even seem to have opened it.

So the issue here is my friend is lying to me because she seems not interested in hearing
another opinion on Yoga / she does not want to be challenged on her beliefs about Yoga.(I perceive this whole incident in that way) When people whom I trust and care about, lie to me, I feel it as a betrayal. This person in the past two years have shown a great love for me on several occasion often like a sister,but this whole Yoga thing seems to spoil it. I don’t want to hate this person just because she rejected/lied me on this Yoga topic. I can easily tear apart her silly arguments with evidences but I want to forgive my friend and move on as I realize in tearing apart her reason I could end up tearing apart the person itself and not really the arguments. I too had others who have patiently endured my silliness and immaturity in the recent past more than once. However I am not that spiritually mature to forgive someone who kinda hurts me by means of a lie. I can try my best to forgive but I think there will be some “anger/resentment/grudge” remaining in me. I (lets say I am able to forgive her 70% but there will be some negative feelings 30% remaining in me).

I am looking for some motivation to TOTALLY forgive her and love her like before.Certainly I have lost some of the love and respect that I had for her due to her dishonesty on this “Yoga issue”.I get extremely pissed of when people lie. (especially when it is by those whom I really care about) I do realize as a human being she also has many shortcomings and this could very well be the only one sin that she has committed in the year 2016. Also she might have many others issues her own life which I am not aware of owing to which she may not want to add one more issue (i.e confusion on whether Yoga is good/bad) I felt several times telling her that she is a LIAR and stop lying to me but refrained from doing so as I know that it will hurt her a lot.This person is very sensitive I suppose. On her last email sent to me 2 weeks back she says that she understand that I am upset at her refusal to listen to my opinion on Yoga but expresses hope that we remain as good friends. But again she uses “I am busy” reason for her refusal. I feel like giving her a tit-for-tat response but I fully realize that my call here is to forgive her and be grateful for all the love and concern that she showed me in the past 2 years or so.


Today morning I came across an article in which a person testified that he/she was able to reconcile with their friend as a result of praying a novena to St.Maria Goretti recently. An hour later I think by divine intervention only I came across, for the umpteenth time JP2 story of forgiving his would be assassin-Ali Agca. So I was thinking compared to these two incidents (Maria Goretti was killed by Alexander but her forgiveness certainly played a role in his conversion.Also JP2’s forgiveness certainly changed Ali Agca- despite his seemingly unstable mental health) what my friend did is nothing. She did not try to kill me, all she did is lying. (I perceive that she is lying when she says she has no time for the next one year) On the positive, my friend has genuinely cared for me in the past two years. So I think it will be very cruel of me to give her a “bad or silent treatment” just because of this one issue.

My issue here is I can try forgiving but as I mentioned earlier I am not spiritually/personally mature to COMPLETELY FORGIVE someone who hurts me /lie to me. I think some resentment will remain and it could become problematic for me.
Trying to forgive someone is a kinda new realm for me.Usually I don’t try that.Normally if some one hurts me they are out of my life or I hurt them back to maintain parity.
Also I want to tell her even if it is an year later, that Yoga can be problematic, in order to make her do son the only way I think is to love her and not holding a grudge against her

Looking for ideas here.

It would be helpful if you examine your part in this problem. You continued to press her on yoga even after she repeatedly told you she did not want to discuss it. You kept pushing so she cut you off . I suspect she thought she was doing it in a polite way that would not hurt your feelings rather than be blunt and tell you to mind your own business about her yoga

One of the reason why I posted this was to get a second opinion on how my behaviour came across as. The 3 occasions in which she explained her lack of time was not consecutive. At every stage I asked for her permission and only once it was granted I took a step forward When she clearly said a NO, I stopped. Also bear in mind that this person was has been a close friend for the past two years. Whilst admitting each and every action of mine was not perfect on this conversation with my friend, I think I did try to honour her feelings and constraints

I did press on but the sequence is like this

I suggested dialogue->My friend refused it-> then I suggested listening to my monologue to which she agreed.->Mid way through my monologue she said NO.

In hindsight she was politely agreeing not to hurt my feelings but when some **catholic sisters **open ways for people to go to HELL, you think I should keep silent and show a false compassion and false respect?
The problem now is not Yoga, it is the dishonesty that bothers me than Yoga

Also it appears that the person did her first Yoga only after she moved to US for her formation which happened in the last one year. She appears to be very much misinformed on this Yoga topic as she has been taught this by her fellow nuns. only.when a catholic nun community starts endorsing yoga through a media I think there is something seriously wrong with the community itself, That is what I would think. I can understand if they do their yoga classes inside their convents with external world not knowing about it. The damage is much lesser

To me, it sounds as though your friend was trying to be polite when saying “I don’t have time to read them”. Maybe she should have said outright “I don’t want to read them”, but she attempted to spare your feelings.

You still appear to be angry about this. Remember that she is under no obligation to listen to you, and if she isn’t interested in hearing your opinions, don’t spread them.

I recommend you really think about why you are angry. Is it because you think she lied, is it because she didn’t listen to something you had to say, is it because you think she is putting herself in danger and you can’t stop her, is it because you feel so right with regards to yoga that you feel angry when she didn’t listen? It always helps to consider your motives.

I would send her another email apologising if your emails offended her and ask her clearly if she wants them or not. If she says not, accept that and move on. You say you are angry that she lied to you - do you think your reaction would have been any different if she had said no outright. She may have said she was too busy for that reason.

It isn’t your job to educate her on yoga and whether she should do it or not. You have one opinion, she has another. She’s heard you, so now I would leave it.


I think your friend is being very polite in order to spare your feelings.
You may be coming off as if you are hounding her. Unless she is the one who initiated the Yoga programme at her convent, I am not sure what she can do.
I would say leave the situation alone and pick up back the friendship before the whole Yoga issue.

It appears you are overly worried about someone you have no control of. I believe your friend has not lied to you but has indicated in a respectful way she doesn’t share you thinking on this issue and probably doesn’t want to discuss it any longer. If your emails to her were anything like what you posted here then I can see her point.

Just let it go.

I agree.


I think she was trying not to hurt your feelings by saying she didn’t have time to read your emails about Yoga. I think trying to spare someone’s feelings isn’t necessarily lying. It is being polite and charitable.

It is possible that she knows all about Yoga and that it can possibly lead to Hinduism. Maybe she knows more than you think she does.

I would suggest leaving the Yoga conversation be and converse with her about other things the two of you would normally discuss.

I agree with Lou2U for the most part–except I would not ask her if she wants any more yoga information, as it’s pretty clear you’ve sent more than enough already.

The way you completely forgive is to let go of your expectations of what she “owes” you. It’s not about feelings, it’s a decision. When those feelings and thoughts pop up, you push them from your mind because, “it’s in the past and I’ve forgiven. Time to move forward.”

Really, though, I think you owe her an apology much more than she owes you one. :shrug:

O.K., you want the truth ?

Is THIS a hill you are willing to die on ? If so, you’d better never marry or have kids. You hounded your friend, she DID tell you she didn’t want to hear about it. When you kept on, she told a half truth not to hurt your feelings since she probably has seen how you CAN’T handle the truth about other things.

You seem to need to be in control of things, and when you don’t get your way, you dump and run. If people DO tell you the truth about things and you react badly, then they will lie to you the next time to avoid this kind of thing. Do you REALLY honestly think this would be a better world if everyone was brutally honest about everything ? You’ve never told a white lie to spare a feeling ? You want honesty ? Your friend said she didn’t want to hear about yoga, but you couldn’t handle that truth, so you just kept going on because you think you’re right. I think this is more about your ego.

My HONEST opinion is that you’ve made a big deal out of nothing. And if this is a hill you are willing to die on and lose this friendship over, then I guess that also means that you are willing to give up saying the Our Father prayer ever again. Because there is that pesky part about asking God to forgive you your trespasses as YOU forgive those who trespass against you. God can forgive, but YOU won’t ?

As written, the story doesn’t exactly involve her in a lie: a statement that someone " has no time" to do an action does not mean that they literally have no free time whatsoever in their day. It simply means that they did not choose that action to be the best use of their free time, and thus had to time to spare for that particular activity. I would seriously to advise you to examine your reasons for becoming so upset, and whether or not it might be because you want to prove yourself in the right.

I often say “I don’t have time to do X” because I am busy and I want to use my limited spare time to do other things. I imagine that your friend has made up her mind about yoga. She doesn’t want to read pages of articles about why it is dangerous when she has free time because during that free time she is BUSY trying to relax, walk in the garden, take pictures of nature, etc. I don’t think she lied, I think she tried to politely stop you from sending her articles about it.

What you should have done, is told her your beliefs in a concise e-mail and maybe sent a link or two that you think really express your opinion in one e-mail. After that, you should not attempt to “convince” her. Humans will become more and more annoyed and entrenched in their opinions the more someone tries to force another opinion on them anyway.

Bit harsh?? You don’t know what background the OP is coming from or what motivates her. We can look at the situation objectively as outsiders based on what she told us because there are no feelings involved, but likewise can’t judge based on facts we weren’t given.

I agree.

Of course it’s harsh, the Op wants honesty ABOVE ALL ELSE,
so I gave her MY honest opinion.

A few mentioned that I am overly worried about this:
My resposne - This person has been my 2nd best friend for the past 16 months. So I am defintiely worried. Overly worried - I don’t know.If she was an average friend I could not have cared less. The more you care about some one the more you worry about him/her

**Many saying that my freind was politely saying No when she was saying that she does not have time
My response - May be I am different from the forum members. I prefer some one telling the truth directly than saying something which is “not true” for the sake of not offending my feelings. Sometimes truth can be very bitter and upsetting but I think I prefer that bitterness than something which is “not true”.
If my friend is not assertive enough to say a NO, I am helpless. I am not God and I don’t have the capability to read any one’s mind. When I say something, I really mean that. I don’t think I pretend much. I would have been upset if my friend told an outright no in the very beginning but the level of “being upset” would have been less than what I am now.

A see a couple of people saying I was hounding her.I don’t think that is a true statement.

Initially I asked her for a dialogue which was refused politely by her .So I asked permission for a monologue which she gave (on two occasions). Then I proceeded.
The first email, my friend does not seem to have opened as they are articles on Yoga etc…Second one- I said something which offended her. But I immediately apologized and my friend also accepted my apology and responded very positively. 3 days later from no where she said “NO”. Since then I have not send her anything on Yoga and assured her that I won’t be having any Yoga conversion with her and I closed the Yoga chapter from my end **Basically whenever she said Yes, I proceeded, but when said a NO, I stopped. **
Two weeks later, my friend emails me saying she perceives that I am upset at her NO but then again explains she does not have time. she also expresses that she wishes to remains friends with me.If it was any topic other than Yoga,I am SOMEWHAT sure she would not have said a NO.

Here is the question, does a person who is not even willing to listen to what I have got to say is a “true” friend of mine?
I very clearly indicated from the very beginning, that she does not agree with my views on Yoga but only asked her to listen to what I have got to say.

Someone is asking about my motive-
My response- I am convinced that as catholic nuns they should not go for Yoga as it can set an example for others to imitate but people often would end up going after the spiritual aspects behind it which is not Christian. I don’t know whether my friend understand it or it. If she does not, I think I have some obligation to make her aware of the dangers of it

Good for you. Honesty is great. However, very few people are like this. The majority of people will tell white lies to avoid hurting someone’s feelings. For example, if you are at a party with a friend and she asks if you like her hairstyle and you think it’s silly, very few people will say “no I think it’s silly”. Some will outright say the like it and some will pick something about it to complement rather than directly answering, e.g. I absolutely love the clip you used that matches your necklace. I would argue that this second evasive method is not lying and is kinder than directly telling the friend that her hair is silly (now, if it was BEFORE the party and the friend had time to change her hairstyle, that would be different!)

Yes, of course she is. Some of the things that interest my very best friend bore me to tears. She did attempt to listen to your point of view and instead of lie to you and pretend she was still reading them, instead she told you that she was no longer making time to read them, thus saving you time and effort.

Your obligation is to tell her your opinion in a short e-mail and maybe send her 1 or 2 links. After that, tell her if she wants to discuss it further you are open to it and then drop the subject (note: this is not what you should do now, it is what you should have done - any more e-mails might upset her). Imagine if she tried to convince you that yoga was OK for her to do. How many e-mails and webpages would she have to send before you changed your mind? I would guess that she would not be able to change your mind. That’s how people are. So sending her loads of e-mails probably won’t change hers. A single short e-mail is enough.

It’s understandable that you’re worried, but I think you’re going too far. You told her how you felt, now you should drop it.

Like the previous poster said, good for you. However, this is not how the majority of people think, and I think your friend was trying to spare your feelings and letting you down gently. I don’t see it as being not assertive at all.

I think you should have dropped the issue after she said no to discussing it. If she doesn’t want to talk about it, there’s no way she would have been interested in anything else and what would be gained from just a monologue?

This is where I think you’re overreacting. She isn’t obligated to listen to you just because she’s your friend. Maybe she should have done, but if she recognised you had different opinions and would not have been able to agree she chose a different plan of action. You asked her to talk to you, she wasn’t interested, you asked her to read something and she still wasn’t interested. Listening to you might have made you feel better, but it wouldnt have done anything.

And you’ve told her, very clearly, as to what you think. You can’t control her actions like you seem to want to.

The problem with your opinion and hers is that I don’t think you would have been happy unless she completely agreed with you and stopped doing yoga. You can’t enforce that and you have no right to expect that of her. She didn’t lie to you, she tried to be respectful and back off. You are bringing this to the fore of your friendship.

Communication is key. You misread her and now feel angry with her. She misunderstood how you would feel when she said she was too busy but isn’t upset because she doesn’t realise it’s a problem. You have to decide - is this something you will end the friendship over?


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