Jesus reminds us of a key aspect to
living our faith to the full: to be faithful to the small things. The Master states clearly: “He who
is faithful in small things will be faithful in the large. He who is unfaithful in the small will be
unfaithful in the large.”(Lk. 16:10)
In this short essay we would like to
call to mind practical ways that we can easily fail in the small areas. To
rationalize and justify or intellectualize our faults (even our little lies)
comes easy. Why? The world that
surrounds us often does not think twice about cutting corners, being devious,
and simply in lying. Also, Jesus gives the devil many names and one of these is
“The Father of lies”.
So, let us dive in to the mud so that
we can come out clean by coming to terms with actions, words, or gestures that
do not harmonize with the call to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. Christian
means to be a follower of Christ. St. Paul goes so far as to say that we are “Ambassadors of Christ.”
WHITE LIES. A very
revealing comic strip of Charlie Brown shows him talking to Lucy about
lying. Charlie says: “Lucy it is only a
white lie!” Lucy retorts quickly:
“Charlie, I did not know that lies come in colors!” How often has it happened
that possibly your child answered the phone and the call was for you and you
told your child to state simply that you were not at home! “Tell her I am not at home now!” How common and ordinary this is!
But let us step back and objectively analyze through the divine perspective
this simple action! Let us see how much damage has been done, even though we
sweep it beneath the rug with no scruple whatsoever!
First, the child was morally damaged by the
parent. Parents must be the first teachers of their children in the realm of
faith. Instead of teaching the child honesty, lies and dishonesty are being
taught. No surprise if in the future this child is transformed into a chronic
mother/father that told the lie has hurt himself. Lying is a sin against the
eighth commandment: “You shall not bear
false witness against your neighbor.”
Sin in any size, color, shape or form always damages the sinner and all
too often many others! Blessed Pope John
Paul II calls sin “Moral suicide”. As
poison can kill the body; so sin is poison that can kill the soul!
Third, who else is hurt? The person that was lied to is also damaged. Lies
often become revealed. Jesus says that all that is hidden will be brought to
light. If not in this life then definitely on the Day of Judgment. Jesus said
that all the words that come out of the mouth will be judged; we will have to
render an account! Even if this lie is not revealed there is damage done. To live
in harmony, peace and honesty in our social relationships, lies must be
Fourth, the purpose and end of speech
is frustrated! God created all things for a purpose. A bird is made by God to fly in the air.
Fishes are created to populate the sea and to swim freely. Man was created to know, love and serve God
in this life so as to be with Him forever.
The purpose of speech is to communicate the truth with love! People will no longer trust each
other if we live constantly in a “Culture of lies”.
Fifth, the devil rejoices! Jesus often makes strong statements. One of these is that “the devil is a liar from
the beginning. He is the father of lies.”
This we see as he lies to Eve in the Garden seducing her to eat from the
forbidden fruit. A Protestant Pastor once asserted with energy against lying
using these words: “Jesus called the
devil the father of lies. So if we lie the devil is our father and we are sons
of the devil.” Pretty strong stuff!
Makes you stop to think twice before falling in to the all-too-common white
Sixth, God is hurt! Pope John Paul II
said in his Apostolic Exhortation “Reconciliation
and Penance” that sin has five effects: theological, social, personal,
ecclesial, and cosmic. First and foremost sin is theological—that means, it
hurts God. The Baltimore Catechism
depicts mortal sin pictorially as a boy with hammer and nail in hand, nailing
Jesus to the cross! On the back of the
boy’s sweat-shirt is written SIN! A picture is worth more than a thousand
So when we succumb to the lie, we actually hurt God. There are many names for Jesus. On one
occasion He gave three names for Himself at the same time: “I am
the Way, the Truth and the Life.” Venerable Archbishop Fulton J.
Sheen offers us a very personalistic definition of sin: “Sin is hurting the one you love.”
So what should you do next time the
phone rings and the call is for you and your little son or daughter answers the
phone and you find yourself simply too busy to tend to the call? Be honest and
truthful! This could be the best and most honest response: “Honey, tell her I
am very busy and will try to call her a little later!” Excellent!
The response is true, simple,
transparent, honest and charitable. By this the child is being taught honesty
by the first teacher—the mother or father!
Jesus said that He came to set
captives free. To lie is to be bound up in slavery. To tell the truth will
indeed give us freedom, the freedom of the sons and daughters of God and will
set that captive free!
Indeed the phone lie is a small lie,
a venial sin. However remember the words of Our Lord and Savior Jesus
Christ: “He who is faithful in the small will also be faithful in the large.”
Let us start today to carry out all our actions under the loving gaze of Jesus,
Mary, and St. Joseph.