A man’s speech and what it reveals about his character is the subject of today’s devotional from Proverbs 12:17-20.
Proverbs 12:17 – “He that speaketh [utters; breathe; fans] truth [faithfulness to the way of righteousness] sheweth forth [declares; expounds; makes known] righteousness [justice]: but a false [deceitful; lying] witness deceit [fraud; guile].”
A righteous man, a man who loves the Lord and obeys His Law, is a bearer of truth. He is honest, transparent, sincere and faithful. When he speaks it is true and binding. Sadly, this kind of man, a man who deals honestly and speaks truthfully in even the smallest matters, is rare.
Allow me a blunt observation: There are far too many men and women in our churches who fail to be honest and speak the truth (Ephesians 4:15; 25), especially in addressing their own faults and shortcomings. There are some reading today’s devotional who, in their own mind do not lie; however, they resist telling the truth when it might incriminate them. Whereas a righteous man will be honest, even at personal sacrifice, you can interrogate a liar and he will still fail to be forthright with the truth. My friend, tell the truth! Deal honestly and openly with your family, friends and peers.
Proverbs 12:18 – “There is [There exists] that speaketh [voice in anger; speak rashly] like the piercings [wounds; stabs] of a sword [dagger; knife]: but the tongue [language; speech] of the wise [skilled in the use of knowledge] is health [medicine; healing; soothing].”
The tongue, though a small member in the body, can wound the heart and pierce the soul (James 3:5-8). When wielded in anger and malice, the tongue can destroy (Psalm 57:4)!
Does the truth sometimes hurt? Absolutely, especially when you feel your weaknesses and shortcomings are exposed. However, words also have the power to set a man free from the bondage of his lies and encourage the soul with kindness, tenderness and affirmation.
Proverbs 12:19 – “The lip [language; speech] of truth [right; faithful; trustworthiness] shall be established [right; certain; fixed] for ever [eternity; perpetuity]: but a lying [false; deceitful] tongue is but for a moment [an instant].”
A liar may speak the truth sometimes; however, a man of righteous character will speak the truth at all times! Truth is timeless and the bearer of righteous lips will be known for dealing honestly in all matters. A liar is a liar, is a liar and eventually his lies are exposed.
I have a warning for you who entertain the friendship of a liar…expect to fall victim to his lack of integrity! Lies, fraud and deceit is in his spiritual DNA and you are no better if you trivialize his sin!
John 8:44 – “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he [the devil] speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it [[father of lies and liars].”
Proverbs 12:20 – “Deceit [fraud; guile] is in the heart [mind; understanding] of them that imagine [plan; devise; fabricate; plow; engrave] evil [sin; wickedness; trouble]: but to the counselors [advisors; consultants] of peace [“shalom”; wholeness in health; prosperity] is joy [rejoicing; gladness].”
The inherent character of sinners is to “imagine”, scheme and devise all manner of ways to entertain themselves in sin and wickedness. Like a farmer’s plow makes a path across a field, a sinner’s life will evidence a pattern of fraud and deception.
Godly counselors, though not always prosperous in this world’s goods, have something that is priceless…the satisfaction and joy of a clear conscience.
What manner of man or woman are you? Are you honest and sincere? Are you friends with those who deal honestly? Do you have a clear conscience before God and man?
1 John 1:7-9 – “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”