What is a Half-truth?

Half-truth Series Part 1

14 But solid food is for the mature, for those whose faculties have been trained by practice to distinguish good from evil.

Hebrews 5:14 – New Revised Standard Version, Anglicized Catholic Edition (NRSVA)

Defined by the Merriam-Webster online dictionary a half-truth (noun) is: 1: a statement that is only partially true. 2a statement that mingles truth and falsehood with deliberate intent to deceive.

Scripture tells us that lying is wrong, moreover, it can be a grave sin depending upon what is being lied about. But Satan is famous for telling half-truths that mislead and get us into trouble. On the other hand, there are those half-truths we all tell without even realizing we ever told them by omitting facts that otherwise would give light to the proper cause and effect of an event. So, I say to you my brothers and sisters nothing good comes from lying to save a person’s feelings, to safeguard those you love from a hurtful situation, and/or the mingling of truth and a white lie. For anything less than the truth is a lie in the eyes of God. Thus, every dictionary should also include a third meaning, 3: a half-truth is a lie.

Half-truth – Omission of facts!

3 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.’”

Genesis 3:1-3 New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)

In the story of Eve and the Serpent, quoted from Genesis 3:1-3, the omission of fact proved deadly. Let’s look at what the serpent asks Eve. “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat from any tree in the garden?” This is a leading question in order to reveal what God had said in order to twist the truth. But the word ‘any’ is an all-inclusive word, replaceable by the word, ‘all’. So, in truth, the serpent is asking Eve if God had said to not eat of all the trees in the garden, which is absurd in and of itself. This prompted Eve to answer, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.'” Adam and Eve understood what God had said as they would physically perish. The serpent knew that it did not mean a physical death per se, rather a spiritual death that would ultimately lead to their fall into sin. It is this which the serpent elected to omit. In this example, the word choice was extremely clever as Adam and Eve were not yet trained in spotting true evil.

Half-truth – Malicious Intent

But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die; for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Genesis 3:4 (NSRVCE)

The first part of the serpent’s response, ‘You will not die;’ is a lie. Here we see the maliciousness of the serpent in not completely revealing what would truly happen. See, to obey God is to follow him, but to ignore him leads to sin and death. The serpent chose to not explore the differences between physical and spiritual death. In other words, when Adam and Eve ate of the fruit in the middle of the garden their perfect sinless existence ended and sin and wickedness entered into their hearts. They stopped being who they were and became the sinful separated beings we are today. No, they did not die a physical death, but their relationship with God did. No longer were they the perfect reflection of God, but a fallen lesser being unworthy of immortality and unfit to live in God’s perfect garden. This, of course, is what the serpent wanted, to prove that God’s creation was capable of sinful acts and therefore not worthy of His love. Satan didn’t stop there as he has been prompting mankind to tell anything from little white lies to half-truths, to full-on lies! The most serious of which is blaspheming the holy spirit!

Can you tell the difference between a half-truth vs. a lie?

Apparently, Adam and Eve could not, nor could Cain or Abel. In fact, if you read the first part of the book of Genesis, Enoch, son of Jared who follows in the line of Seth born 642 years after Adam’s creation was the first person who was literally trained in the ways of God by God Himself. So, for 642 years, just shy of a millennium, seven generations of man lived in the dark as it relates to the complete understanding of the subtle differences between a lie and the truth. I say this because there is no difference between a half-truth vs. a lie. This is a hard skill to master, to discern if someone is telling you a half-truth or not. For it entails a person to have knowledge of what is being discussed, from the root or cause of the event in question, to its current state of affairs. Each step taken, every person involved, and to know the situation or disposition of those who acted and who did not act. The danger of a half-truth whether it was done with malicious intent or by simply omitting some of the facts to make oneself look more innocent is that it becomes a habit, propagates sin, and prompts others to act when otherwise they would not have. The Book of Enoch delves into this in detail, especially when describing the Watchers and the Nephilim.

Solon was an Athenian statesman, lawmaker and poet. Born:  c. 630 BC; Athens

Guiding Question: “If the foundations of truth are undermined by the countless lies being told daily what is a person of faith to do? Hint: Psalms 11:7

Let Us Pray!

Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Philippians 4:8 New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)

Pray this in the silence of your hearts –

‘Dear Lord, I pray with all my heart for you to help me be strong, to know your will, and be one with you. I pray for your strength, guidance, and words that nourish my soul. Help me tell the truth with every word, action, and intent. Help me O’Lord to discern the truth from a lie, a half-truth from the truth, and see through the murky depths of the sinful words spoken by those around me daily. Forgive me of my sins and all the lies I have told and help me to be a better person and be a more perfect version of myself.

Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

May the Lord bless you, and keep you from all evil and bring you to everlasting life.


Saint Joseph Pray for us.

Sancte Ioseph, Ora pro nobis

Published by

Brother Brian

Brother Brian currently serves within the Archdiocese of Los Angeles Catholic School System. He is currently in his twentieth year of teaching.

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