In reflecting on the 8th Commandment, pope says non-authentic communication prevents relationships
“When there is a lie, there is no love; there cannot be love,” Pope Francis said Wednesday as he continued his general audience series on the Commandments, taking up today the 8th Commandment: Thou shalt not bear false witness.
This command is about “misrepresenting the truth in our relationship with others,” the Holy Father explained, saying that living in “non-authentic communications is serious because it prevents relationships, and therefore prevents love.”
Communication, he continued, involves the whole person, not just words. “A person speaks with everything he is and what he does. We are all in communication, always. We all live by communicating and we are constantly poised between truth and falsehood.”
Francis considered various ways that we can fail to live in the truth, from being precise in detail but failing to grasp the whole, to absolutizing our own personal point of view. He also strongly condemned gossip, one of the sins that he most often speaks against, because it “kills” by destroying a reputation.
Francis pointed out that the example for living in the truth is given us by Christ, particularly as he stood before Pilate, who plainly asked, “what is truth?”
Jesus “was consistent, He was consistent: With that way of dying, Jesus manifests the Father, His merciful and faithful love,” Francis said. “Truth finds its full realization in the very person of Jesus, in His way of living and dying, fruit of His relationship with the Father.”
The risen Jesus also shares with us this existence as children of God, “sending the Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of truth, who gives testimony in our hearts that God is our Father,” Peter’s Successor said. And our every act is either an affirmation or a denial of our truth as his sons and daughters.
Everyone can ask themselves: Am I a witness to the truth, or am I more or less a liar disguised as a truthful person? … Christians are not exceptional men and women. We are, however, children of the heavenly Father … This truth is not expressed so much in speech; it is a way of existing, a way of life …
So to fulfill this Commandment, the pope concluded, is to “live as a child of God, Who never, never denies Himself, never tells lies. To live as children of God, allowing this great truth to emerge in every act: that God is Father and we can trust Him. I trust God: this is the great truth. From our trust in God, who is a Father and loves me, loves us, my truth is born.”
See the Holy Father’s series on The Commandments here: