A worthless person, a wicked man, is the one who walks with a perverse mouth.
Proverbs 6:17-19 lists seven things that God hates: “haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, a false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers.” Two of these top seven have to do with lying: a lying tongue and a false witness. God hates lying. Why is that?
Lying is the antithesis of who God is. In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am . . . the truth.” God is absolute truth. On the other hand, Satan is the essence of untruth. In John 8:44, Jesus said, “Satan . . . does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and he is the father of lies.” When we lie, we are behaving more like children of Satan than children of God. That is why God hates lying.
Solomon warned against lying in Proverbs 6:12. He said, “A worthless person, a wicked man, is the one who walks with a perverse mouth.” In Proverbs 12:19, he said, “Truthful lips will be established forever, but a lying tongue is only for a moment.” And in Proverbs 21:6, he said, “The acquisition of treasures by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor, the pursuit of death.” Now, when Solomon said we ought to run from falsehood, he was not only talking about refraining from telling all-out whoppers. He was talking about any kind of variation from the truth.
When Solomon warned against deceitful lips, I think he was talking about three kinds of false speech that we need to abstain from. First of all, he meant to avoid flattery. Solomon offered some very unflattering words about flatterers. Proverbs 29:5 says, “A man who flatters his neighbor is spreading a net for his steps.” We all know of politicians, corporate leaders, and pastors who surround themselves with yes-people. When you listen to what you want to hear instead of what you need to hear, the result is going to be disastrous.
Second, Solomon said to avoid distortions or perversions of the truth. Proverbs 19:1 says, “Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than he who is perverse in speech and is a fool.” That word “perverse” does not mean telling dirty jokes. It means “to twist, to distort.” Solomon was saying you need to run as far as you can from distorting the truth to deceive somebody.
Third, Solomon said to avoid exaggerations. We all tend to make a good story better by embellishing the truth. But the Bible says we are to abstain from exaggeration. The problem with lies, distortions, and exaggerations is that eventually they will be exposed. The Bible says one day all liars, all perverters of truth, all exaggerators, and all distorters will have to face the music. That is why we need to run from all falsehood.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “You Never Have To Explain What You Don’t Say” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2013.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.