By deceiving others, we deceive ourselves
We have to be most careful in handling the truth. We already have been amply warned that when we play around with it, it will also make its sweet revenge on us in ways that we may not even notice.
A quote from St. Augustine’s Confession expresses this well: “They love truth when she shines on them; and hate her when she rebukes them. And since they are not willing to be deceived, but do wish to deceive, they love truth when she reveals herself and hate her when she reveals them.
“On this account, she will so repay them that those who are unwilling to be exposed by her she will indeed expose against their will, and yet will not disclose herself to them.”
St. Paul already made reference to the grave consequences of deception. “Evil men and impostors,” he said, “will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” (2 Tim 3,13)
The Book of Proverbs more or less say the same point: “His own iniquities will capture the wicked, and he will be held with the cords of his sin.” (5,22)
It’s about time we review the crucial relationship between God and our capacity to stick to the truth or to distort it.
Nowadays, with the plethora of data and information, we have to remind ourselves constantly that truthfulness is not a matter of simply conforming these data and pieces of information to our own designs. We need to process these raw data by leavening them with the love of God and submitting them to God’s will and designs.
To put it bluntly, we can only be in the truth when we are with God. Outside of him, let’s wish ourselves sheer luck, because the most likely thing to happen is to slip from the truth. It´s like chasing the wind. For all the excitement and advantages a Godless pursuit of truth gives, everything will just turn out to be vanity.
With this new phenomenon about the so-called fake news, which is actually a rehash of the old evil tactics of disinformation and misinformation, of giving partisan spins to issues, we should feel the urgent need to be united to God to be really truthful and fair in resolving our problems.
Truthfulness therefore starts with our relationship with God, and with how well we maintain that relationship. This is something we have to realize more deeply, since very often we get contented with mere human criteria for truthfulness, that are often subjective, incomplete, imperfect, and vulnerable to be maneuvered and manipulated.
When we are not with God, then we can very easily play around with the facts and data, and pass them around as truth, but serving some self-interest instead of the common good, for example.
We justify such behaviour as a privilege of our freedom. But would that be freedom when one is plunging himself to the bondage of untruth and deception? Would that be freedom when it is exercised to violate the will of God who is the giver, the pattern and end of freedom?