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Question 35

In the gospel of John, where Christ admonishes His enemies, He describes Satan as the father of lies. What happens when we lie for a so called good purpose where our aim is for example to prevent harm from coming to another person or to put it differently to save an innocent life? Also, is it a sin to lie where we have to put up with meddling relations or other people who want to put their noses in our personal lives?



Answer to Question 35


 We are all forced to lie occasionally, but we cannot place all lies in the same category. If someone lies with the intention of causing harm to someone else then this is an evil and malicious act. But sometimes we lie to avoid telling the true which might harm someone, so the intent is not evil, but an act of love.


We priest often have to be diplomatic and lie occasionally so as not to cause arguments between people. For example someone might come and accuse someone else of terrible things he has done. If the other person comes up to me and asks me what was said I would have to lie and pretend I havenít heard anything so that he doesnít go back and pick a fight with the person who made the accusation.


At other times we lie so that we donít have to reveal a truth about us which is nobody others business. If something is of a personal matter and we want it to remain personal then we have no other choice but to make up a story to protect our secret or be rude to someone and tell them to mind their own business. These are not lies that will cause harm to others, they are simply to conceal the truth which might cause more harm than good. In a court of law we have a choice to say the truth or keep silent. If I was called as a witness for or against someone, I would speak the truth if it helped the defender, but would probably keep silent if my testimony would harm him even if he was guilty. I would rather let God be the judge. But I have never been placed in that position so donít really know how I would respond.