A Kiss on the Lips
Updated: Jul 11, 2020
Friday - July 10th Scripture to Read for Today's Devotional: Proverbs 6:16-20
Today's Selection from our Sermon on the Mount Reading Plan: Matthew 5:33-37
An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips.
Years ago, a man I had never met approached me after a service. He quickly and kindly communicated how much he had liked my message that day. He didn't say a lot, but you could tell he really liked what I had to say in the sermon. To this day, I cannot remember what the sermon was about. But, this guy loved it.
He struggled to make sure I understood how deeply what I preached that day affected his heart and mind. Finally, he said, "As I turned to walk out of the worship center, Jesus told me to give you something. May I give it to you?" Who am I to stop someone from doing something Jesus told them to do - especially if that prompting from the Lord involves giving me something? So, I simply replied, "Sure."
This stranger then reached out, put his hands on my face - cupping my cheeks in his hands, moved quickly toward me, and kissed me on the lips. He then said, "That is from Jesus. Proverbs 24:26," and he walked away. Now, this does not happen to me that often. I rarely have a person walk up to me in the church lobby after a sermon and thank me for that sermon by kissing me on the lips. Actually, it is so rare that it only happened this one time in my 28 years of pastoral ministry.
It took me several minutes to recover from that kiss. But as soon as my stunned state ended, I opened the Bible app on my phone to look up Proverbs 24:26. It was not a reference with which I was familiar. As I found the passage, I read: "An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips." Over the years, I have interacted with that guy from time to time. In his own unique way, the kiss was a legitimate expression of his appreciation. But, I have asked him to simply shake my hand for a job well done in the future.
His use of Proverbs 24:26 as his justification for kissing me on the lips actually takes the whole proverb out of context. The proverb teaches that honesty from someone when questioning them is refreshing, distinct, and memorable. Most people like to blur or exaggerate the truth. They embellish their answers so that their personal agenda is advanced - even if honesty gets lost in the process.
During his message in our services this past weekend, Pastor Brian Howard addressed the concern Jesus had in the Sermon on the Mount about swearing by oaths. An oath that is confirmed through swearing by someone or something implies that a person is not always honest. It may even be that they are so known for giving deceptive answers that swearing an oath is the only way to indicate to others they are being honest and answering with the truth. Jesus made his perspective clear on the topic of swearing by oaths when he said in Matthew 5:37, "All you need to say is simply 'Yes' or 'No.'"
Proverbs 24:26 has nothing to do with a super spiritual way of saying "Thank you" to someone. It doesn't even encourage us to kiss anyone. It illustrates how rare and unusual an honest answer is in the world. It is so rare that it is like a kiss on the lips. The kiss I got from the man who was a stranger at the time had nothing to do with Proverbs 24:26. But, because he mentioned the verse reference after kissing me on the lips, I will never forget God's illustration of the value of an honest answer. I will never forget Proverbs 24:26!
Are you a person of your word? Do you keep your promises? When asked a question, do you answer honestly, or do you inflate or blur your answer deceptively? As the followers of Christ and His Kingdom, we should be known for our honesty and integrity. Our "yes" should mean "yes" and our "no" should mean "no."
Proverbs 6:16-20 names the deadliest sins we can commit. Interestingly enough, dishonesty or breaking our promises get mentioned often in one way or another. Deception destroys our relationships and damages our integrity. Honesty is rare and refreshing. Honesty should be the mark of a faithful follower of Christ.
As you interact with others today in person or online, be honest. Don't pretend to be someone or something you are not. Tell the truth. Answer honestly. Don't leave anyone with a wrong impression. Be clear. Be open. Be honest.
In a world where deception is the norm, let your honesty be as refreshing as a kiss on the lips!