Do you remember being a kid and answering a question with your fingers crossed behind your back? The idea was that you could tell a lie so long as your fingers are crossed. The crossed fingers let you off the hook. As adults we excuse ourselves from speaking truth by saying that our “white lies” are to protect others and don’t harm anyone. Whether young or old, we’ve all practiced deception.
In today’s passage Solomon speaks strongly against deceptive words and practices; his words offer both warning and comfort to readers today. First, Solomon warns that the lying and deceitful person “always stirs up conflict,” and as a result, “disaster will overtake him in an instant; he will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy” (v. 15). While the lying and deceitful person may appear to get ahead—as is often the case—danger lurks just around the corner. So, while we may be tempted to lie and manipulate to gain power, wealth, or other temporary advantages, we should understand that choosing deception will ultimately lead to death. The wise person will avoid it at all costs.
These verses also offer comfort. Though liars and deceivers may appear to prosper, Proverbs reminds us that their destruction is certain. The “disaster will overtake him in an instant” (v. 15). The suddenness of judgment gives urgency to our declaration of the gospel, for the punishment faced by evildoers will be unimaginably horrifying. God is a just and righteous judge, and while we may be frustrated by the temporary success of the wicked, we are told that “those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you” (Ps. 73:27).
>> Our words matter to God. Deception and lying should have no place in the actions of the believer. Are there times when you avoid speaking truth? Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading and ask God to make you a person of your word.
God, we ask again for wisdom—wisdom to wield the truth with grace. Whenever we speak, we should speak truth, but not all truths need to be spoken at all times. May Your Spirit guide us in when to stay silent and when to speak up