We can look all around us and see that lying is not taken as a big deal in society anymore. According to a recent college survey, up to 98% of students have lied or cheated in their academic careers. Is this trend something that we should worry about? Does this, as one of the authors of the surveys said, “Paint a grim picture of today’s youth” and of young adults as well? As Catholics, why should we be concerned?
The answer is simple: we deserve better.
The thing we must realize is that lying or cheating affects relationships as well as goes against the very purpose of our humanity. It affects our three most fundamental relationships; our relationship with God, neighbor, and self.
Lying affects our relationship with God: Although in society, we tend to look at things from a natural standpoint, we must first and foremost look at religion because revelation confirms our natural desires; grace builds on nature; it does not destroy it.
We must look at the relationship we have with God because we are all made for Him. Since God is truth (John 14:6), when we lie, we are actually going/working against God. This is not something to take lightly but a huge deal as we never want to work against God and His plan for our lives. This can only lead to bad things since only God is good (Mark 10:18).
Lying affects our relationships with our neighbors: People are owed the right to not be degraded. We all have an intrinsic desire for the true, good, and beautiful (which are all perfected in God). When we lie or don’t help people towards the true or good, we are degrading their humanity. What we are indirectly telling the person we are lying to is: “I care about you so much that I’m willing to deny you one of the very things that makes you human-your desire for truth.”
This is not a good thing. It also labels you as untrustworthy and really isolates you because people will not trust you. Lying hinders the world from getting to know the real you because you are not making yourself a gift to others, but only pretending to give yourself. You are hiding your ideas, your thoughts, YOU!
Lying affects the relationships with myself: Finally, lying hurts you. You lose sight of which you really are if you have to pretend to be someone you’re not in various situations. Keep in mind, truth is when our minds match up with objective reality. The lie you tell is not objective reality, but a subjective way to escape reality.
It keeps you from growing in the capacity to love because love must be given and received in truth otherwise it is not truly love; it is a counterfeit. You can see how this leaves people incomplete or lost. In lying, you deny yourself the very things that make you human (the true, the good, and the beautiful-known as the transcendentals) and thus degrade yourself.
Now that we understand how lying harms our relationships we can next discuss why it is so important to be true. The purpose of morality is to uphold the dignity of the human person. At its core, truth is important because it upholds who and what we are as human beings. So lying/cheating is always degrading to the human person which goes against morality. This is why morally it is called intrinsically disordered (CCC#1753) and ethically it is degrading to humanity.
We see that the truth about lying is it objectively hurts or destroys our relationships with God, others, and ourselves. It dehumanizes us and the people we are lying to, as well as undermines the very fabric of society, morality, and humanity. This is why truth is important and why LYING IS A BIG DEAL! It is a big deal because WE ARE A BIG DEAL. We deserve better. We deserve to love and be loved not in fictionality, but actuality and in doing so we will fulfill our purpose and God’s plan by always upholding our human dignity.
Gerard-Marie Anthony is single and has written numerous articles and books through various publications including, Who AM I: The Theology of the Body in Prayer. He can be reached at his website: www.gmarieforG-O-D.com or by e-mail at: gmarieforG-O-D@hotmail.com .