How to decide which lies to forgive and which not to?


Your best friend has lied to you regarding a very big decision that he has taken in his life. He was the one with whom you shared each and everything in life and never lied to each other. But lying in one of the most important decisions of his life left you amazed. When you discovered this, you were deeply hurt and almost lost faith in humanity.

Now answer the following questions:

  1. Should all lies be forgiven?
  2. How to decide which lies to forgive and which not to?
  3. What should you do in the above situation when your best friend lies to you? Will you actually lose complete faith in humanity?


This case study involves a situation which most of us have faced in our lives sometime or the other. It makes us feel helpless and hurts us deeply. Faith is an important factor in our lives. And getting betrayed by the one, whom we trust the most, is indeed very painful. It is difficult to forgive a person who lied to us or cheated on us.
But before reaching at any conclusion, there are some dimensions we should look into. Whether to forgive the person or not, will be decided after analysing the entire incident. First of all, we must try to understand the intention or motive behind the lie. In the above case, the intention of the friend might be different. The intention may not be to cheat or deceive. The lie may be told to protect his image. Although there is no justification for a lie, but all of us have lied sometime or the other in our lives. Therefore, the intention behind the lie has to be seen.
The question of forgiveness arises when the person admits his lie with genuine guilt or repentance. A habitual liar or cheat should not be forgiven, rather should be punished. I might forgive him if he admits his lie and wants to change. He should promise me that he should never lie again whatever may be the reason because friendship builds upon trust. If the lie is forgivable, we should forgive the person. We should also not show by any of our actions that we have done a favour on him by forgiving him. Only then it is called a true forgiveness.
There is no reason to lose faith in humanity. The world has both positive and negative, both good and bad people. Good and bad are just mere impressions; they do not make a person. And a timely forgiveness can also help improve one’s character. History has the example of Mahatma Gandhi, who mentioned in his autobiography about stealing in his life once and later on forgiveness by his father turned him into a great personality. Also we have the example of a robber called Angulimal who got transformed into a saint on being in touch with Lord Buddha. We just have to be a little more careful in life and regarding any friendship before blindly trusting anyone.


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