“The truth. It is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with great caution.”– J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
This quote is striking because you always think of the truth as a good thing. After all, we’re always told that the truth will set you free and that lying hurts others and yourself. And yeah, sometimes the truth hurts as well.
I find that in a lot of fiction there are times when the protagonist finds something out and has to decide if the truth should be told or if it will hurt a person more than lying to them would. An example would be in When We Were Strangers, where the main character, Evie, finds out her dad was going to leave her and her mom the day he died… so she puts his stuff back and lies to her mom about it in fear of hurting her more.
In a situation like that where you think lying might be easier on the person than the truth, that’s when you need to treat the truth delicately. I don’t believe there’s ever an excuse for lying, even if you think it’s for a good reason. Again, it just makes the truth hurt more when it comes out, because then you also lose your trust of the person who kept the truth from you.
After all, there’s a reason why lying is a sin. All it does is hurt people.