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If you tell a harmless lie does it still count as a mortal sin? For example if someone asks you if you're busy tomorrow but, to avoid whatever they want you to do, you say yes even if you're not?
Make sure you are always busy -- then it will always be true.  ;)
(09-22-2011, 07:46 AM)Aragon Wrote: [ -> ]If you tell a harmless lie does it still count as a mortal sin? For example if someone asks you if you're busy tomorrow but, to avoid whatever they want you to do, you say yes even if you're not?

Well if it's a lie, it's a sin (to answer the thread title question).

As to mortal sin ...  I'm not sure.
(09-22-2011, 07:55 AM)OCLittleFlower Wrote: [ -> ]Make sure you are always busy -- then it will always be true.   ;)

Hahahha. True. The problem is sometimes at the end of a busy week you don't want to do anything other than sit around the house :P
Just tell them you have things to do.  Which you should be doing.  If you have the time to spare, get that rosary out!
I wouldn't consider that a lie. Being busy can mean just about anything, including being busy avoiding the thing they want you to do. If you said, "I have to go to work," and you actually don't, then that would be a lie, obviously.
I would check out what St. Thomas Aquinas wrote on "mental reservation." Might help you in the future with those types of situations, I know it has helped me.
(09-22-2011, 07:46 AM)Aragon Wrote: [ -> ]If you tell a harmless lie does it still count as a mortal sin? For example if someone asks you if you're busy tomorrow but, to avoid whatever they want you to do, you say yes even if you're not?

I think that is absolutely a lie.  If you say you are busy and you aren't, that's a lie.  Being busy avoiding doing whatever they want you to do doesn't count...

But it really kind of depends on how the question is asked and how close you are with the person.  If you don't like him or just don't want to hang out with him, telling him you are busy may give the impression that you want to but are prohibited from doing so by some former commitment.  So he's going to ask again, and you're going to have to keep making excuses, and eventually you're going to look like a jerk and he's going to be upset that you didn't just tell him you didn't want to hang out with him in the first place.  On the other hand, if it's your best friend who asks you to do something and there is something you would rather be doing instead, even if it's just hanging around the house, answering with "I'm busy" might be understood that you just don't want to go.  So it really depends on the nature of the relationship.

Either way, I don't think these kinds of lies are usually mortal sins.  I think the issue would have to be a lot more serious than just not wanting to do something for the lie to be a mortal sin.

Still, though, mortal sin or not, don't be too quick to judge a lie as harmless.  It's easy to make excuses for yourself that way, and you don't always know what the result will be.  I've seen a lot of hurt come from some seemingly-innocuous lies.
(09-22-2011, 10:55 AM)cgraye Wrote: [ -> ]
(09-22-2011, 07:46 AM)Aragon Wrote: [ -> ]If you tell a harmless lie does it still count as a mortal sin? For example if someone asks you if you're busy tomorrow but, to avoid whatever they want you to do, you say yes even if you're not?

I think that is absolutely a lie.  If you say you are busy and you aren't, that's a lie.  Being busy avoiding doing whatever they want you to do doesn't count...

But it really kind of depends on how the question is asked and how close you are with the person.  If you don't like him or just don't want to hang out with him, telling him you are busy may give the impression that you want to but are prohibited from doing so by some former commitment.  So he's going to ask again, and you're going to have to keep making excuses, and eventually you're going to look like a jerk and he's going to be upset that you didn't just tell him you didn't want to hang out with him in the first place.  On the other hand, if it's your best friend who asks you to do something and there is something you would rather be doing instead, even if it's just hanging around the house, answering with "I'm busy" might be understood that you just don't want to go.  So it really depends on the nature of the relationship.

Either way, I don't think these kinds of lies are usually mortal sins.  I think the issue would have to be a lot more serious than just not wanting to do something for the lie to be a mortal sin.

Still, though, mortal sin or not, don't be too quick to judge a lie as harmless.  It's easy to make excuses for yourself that way, and you don't always know what the result will be.  I've seen a lot of hurt come from some seemingly-innocuous lies.

Yeah, I agree with your post. It was a good friend and usually I'd say yes, but it's been a pretty busy week and I'm one of those people that needs some time alone to recharge by myself before I go out and see friends again. Telling him I'm busy was pretty much the dishonest alternative to saying "I'd rather stay home than hang out" which, while true, risked hurting him. To be honest I don't feel particularly guilty about it but I'll mention it in confession just to be sure (and ask the priest if it's mortal or not).

If anything the fact that I'm not sure whether it's sinful or not would indicate lack of full knowledge, right?
(09-22-2011, 11:06 AM)Aragon Wrote: [ -> ]If anything the fact that I'm not sure whether it's sinful or not would indicate lack of full knowledge, right?

I would think so, and it almost surely isn't grave matter either.  And like I said, if this was a close friend, he may have understood your response as meaning that you didn't want to go, not that you literally couldn't.
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