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I would like to elaborate a bit on what a lie is, on whether or not is it always wrong to lie, and on whether or not we can lie to ourselves. Rather than just giving you my own immature thoughts on the subject, I want to draw on the thoughts of St. Augustine. I don’t know that I fully agree with Augustine, but I think he is a good place to start. Perhaps I can do another sermon where we look at Aquinas’ view, Newman’s view, and Kant’s view.
My interest in this topic was stirred up by a book called “Lying: An Augustinian Theology of Duplicity” by Paul J. Griffiths. The Holy Spirit had already been convicting me of my own tendency to be dishonest, but this book helped clarify and sharpen my vision so that I began to see more clearly just how deep and wide my dishonesty is.
All of us know that it is wrong to lie, but few of us see how easy it is to lie and how entrenched we are in our own lies. In fact, if you made it your life’s ambition to never lie, you would probably be one of the most socially awkward people around. Many of our “social graces” rely on our ability distort our true thoughts. Even if we think someone smells funny, we usually shy away from telling them this. Anyone who just blurted out his thoughts without any sort of filter would be considered rude.