Lying and Denial


#1

I had a question about how to determine whether you’ve lied or not. I know that lying is intentionally giving someone false information, but sometimes we can deceive ourselves, too.

Consider this situation, which I’ve remastered to maintain some privacy:

I wanted to buy a Mini Cooper; I’d wanted one for a long time, in fact. When considering buying one, I had convinced myself that I wanted to buy it for the gas mileage. Therefore, when pitching the idea to my wife, that’s what I told her: We could save so much more on gas, and that’s what I want to get it.

After a getting the car, about a month later, I finally came to terms with my actual intentions. I had to admit to myself that I just wanted a Mini Cooper because I wanted a newer car. It wasn’t about the gas mileage at all.

When I spoke with my wife a month earlier, though, I wasn’t intending to deceive her. It’s just that at the time I wasn’t being honest enough with myself. Although something did tell me that maybe my heart was somewhere else, I ignored it. I was convinced that I was really just trying to save money.

My question:

At the end of the day, then, when the dust settles, did I lie? I ask because it’s not so black and white. I wasn’t plotting and scheming about how best to fool my wife. I was just convicted about something that, as I admitted to myself later, I really wasn’t all that convicted about after all.


#2

I don’t think you did. I’d say to let it go and be at peace with your new Mini Cooper. :wink:


#3

That’s not lying, it’s human nature. We usually put the best face on our arguments. :wink:

Not long ago I read an article about this - there is actually a term to describe it. But unfortunately, I don’t remember what it is.


#4

I agree with the above posters. Enjoy.

Mary.


#5

CCC 2482 "A lie consists in speaking a falsehood with the intention of deceiving."The Lord denounces lying as the work of the devil: “You are of your father the devil, . . . there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

CCC 2483 Lying is the most direct offense against the truth. To lie is to speak or act against the truth in order to lead someone into error. By injuring man’s relation to truth and to his neighbor, a lie offends against the fundamental relation of man and of his word to the Lord.

CCC 2484 The gravity of a lie is measured against the nature of the truth it deforms, the circumstances, the intentions of the one who lies, and the harm suffered by its victims. If a lie in itself only constitutes a venial sin, it becomes mortal when it does grave injury to the virtues of justice and charity.

CCC 2485 By its very nature, lying is to be condemned. It is a profanation of speech, whereas the purpose of speech is to communicate known truth to others. The deliberate intention of leading a neighbor into error by saying things contrary to the truth constitutes a failure in justice and charity. The culpability is greater when the intention of deceiving entails the risk of deadly consequences for those who are led astray.

CCC 2486 Since it violates the virtue of truthfulness, a lie does real violence to another. It affects his ability to know, which is a condition of every judgment and decision. It contains the seed of discord and all consequent evils. Lying is destructive of society; it undermines trust among men and tears apart the fabric of social relationships.


#6

Our beliefs change all the time. You believed you wanted that car for the gas mileage not you realize that you believe differently. At some point-maybe in high school or college you may have believed that you would never get married but did. Simply be more honest with yourself in the future-not because this was a lie but because it is causing you stress because you weren’t clear with yourself about your intention. Blessings to you and yours.


#7

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.