We all know that we must not lie. But, have you ever considered why that is? At first we might say, “Well, because it is one of the commandments.” That is true – but is it the real reason that we must not lie? I believe this mode of thinking about our moral requirements can be detrimental to bringing others into the Church.
If those of us who are believers in Christ understand our moral obligations as something that is negative then the only way we have to communicate our morality to the rest of the world is through negative terms. “Thou shalt not bear false witness.” The world already thinks of the Church something like this, “Those Catholics and their rules – they just want to take away everyone's fun. They need to get with the times – this is the 21st century.” Of course this could be said in any number of ways but I think you can get my point. If we only have something negative instead of something positive to say then most of the world will never 'hear' anything we have to say. Yes, they may audibly hear it but they won't understand. As the saying goes, “It will go in one ear and out the other.”
Now let me be clear, by my saying we need to be positive instead of negative I am not therefore saying that we do away with our obligation to not lie. What I am saying is that we need to understand the real reason that we should not lie, or, in fact, why we should not commit any sin.
First, let us start with God, after all, we were made in His Image and He is therefore, especially in the form of His Son Jesus Christ, the model for the behavior of all of mankind. Any time that God communicates to us He speaks to us the Truth, of that we must be certain. True, we do not know and understand all the mysteries of God, but whatever He has revealed to us we can most certainly believe to be True. In addition, God being the Source of all Truth and Goodness, can and would never lie to us.
Next, as mentioned above, we were made in His Image. As such, we have been given the gift to communicate, which is part of our being made in His Image. Therefore with the understanding that our ability to communicate is a gift from the God who communicates only that which is True we too should make that are necessary part of who we are.
So, it is not just about not lying. To think in this way is very limiting to our understanding of the Faith and will also keep many people out of the Church. What our Faith is about is our call to leave behind our fallen nature and, with the supernatural grace of God, to be remade into the Image of His Son. This, I believe, is what will bring others into the Church – to give an answer as to why it is we do what we do as Catholics, which is to become like Jesus Christ. So therefore, like Jesus, always speak the Truth. To do so will necessarily mean that you never have to worry about lying.