Untruth Offends God Himself
By Father Kenneth Wasilewski
“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines the Eighth Commandment with these nine simple words. 
As is the case with the other commandments however, there are pages and pages explaining how Catholics are to strive to live these few words out in the context of their daily lives. 
This commandment ultimately is meant to guide our relationship with the truth. “Truth” can be understood to be “that which is real” or “that which accurately expresses the facts or reality.” It is important to note though, that to define truth in this way means that I understand that it is not just about my perception or “my reality” but rather something that transcends me. 
The fact that I believe something to be true, or wish it were true, doesn’t make it so. Nevertheless, I am compelled to live according to the truth as I know it — accepting the fact that there may yet be more to know or learn. The same cannot be said about God though. 
We can also understand truth to be the way that God knows or understands something to be. The way God knows or sees something is the way that it is, end of story, since all reality exists only in and through Him. 
Not surprisingly then, one of the first things that the catechism discusses about the Eighth Commandment is the fact that an offense against the truth isn’t simply an offense against another person or persons (which it is), but rather, first and foremost, it is an offense against God Himself. Why? Because God is the source of all truth, and indeed, can rightly be called Truth itself. Therefore, to offend the truth is ultimately to offend God. 
Scripture, especially the New Testament, makes this connection between God and truth time and time again. It is a rather simple proposition, if I love God, then I will also love the truth. That means as Christians we strive to live, speak and witness to the truth wherever we find ourselves. This can prove to be rather challenging (as we probably already know) — especially as we delve into the many practical ways we’re called to do this.
The catechism also reminds us of a few key “truths” about truth. Namely, that we as human beings are not only made for it, but are drawn to it. Just think of our desires to know the “real story” or to solve a mystery or to have our questions answered. Science, philosophy and theology all concern themselves with coming to know the truth. 
We can likewise think about how troubling and hurtful it can be to find out we’ve been lied to or deceived. Both the satisfaction in knowing it, and the pain in being kept from it, point us to the reality of our being made for it. 
Practically speaking, we see its importance for living in relationship with others. It is impossible to have meaningful and satisfying relationships unless we’re convinced that there is honesty in the relationship — whether that is with one other person, or with many people collectively. 
Truthfulness is essential to trust, and trust is essential to authentic relationships. This is especially critical if we’re to have loving relationships with others since love can only flourish where trust and truthfulness are found. 
Given all of this, we see more and more just how essential truth is in the life of human beings, especially those who call themselves Christians. 
All of us find it challenging to come to know the truth let alone live the truth consistently in every aspect of our lives. We will likely fail at times. 
Fortunately, one of the most important truths about God is that He is always compassionate and merciful. Every time we seek His forgiveness, He is willing to pardon our shortcomings and invite us back into the splendor of His truth.