Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 12:19
"Truthful lips will be established forever, but a lying tongue is only for a moment"
This is one of the most important but difficult truths to get teens to embrace – the idea that it is better to be truthful than to avoid punishment because of lying. Lying offers a magic wand when you are younger. People want to believe you and so they take you at your word and give you the benefit of the doubt. Some young people have been impressed by the power of lying in their teens and never give up the practice and become addicted to it. It is a shame because lying will catch up with you, and it will destroy what you have so carefully protected and collected.
It is painful to tell the truth at times. It often involves taking responsibility for mistakes and errors that you would just as soon avoid, but it will be a benefit to you over the long haul both in this life and in the one to come. We are hearing more and more cases of bizarre actions by young people where they murder their children rather than give them up for adoption; where spouses kill or seek to hire assassins to kill their spouse rather than walk away; where children brazenly harm or steal from their parents. In each case the people have a history of lying in which it seemed to them that they had always gotten away with their impulses through lying, and this was just one more impulse. Coddling lying is not helpful. It can set up a practice of deception and selfishness that is destructive to meaning, significance, and prosperity.
It is hard to get kids to embrace truth-telling but it must be modeled; it must be taught; it must be demanded; and it must be corrected when it is not demonstrated.
This is the Hebrew word emet, which means firmness, truth, even faithful. It is the idea that this statement will stand up to the scrutiny of examination. It is the way things are – it is firm and sure. In this context it is about whether your statements can be said to be accurate and non-deceptive.
This is the Hebrew word ken, which means established, prepared, fixed, certain. The idea is that Solomon is saying that because you can be counted on to speak what corresponds to the actual reality, then your life and reputation will be lasting.
It is clear that Solomon extends the effect of becoming a truth-teller into eternity. He sees a future beyond this world for those who tell the truth. Therefore Christians must be truth-tellers. They are forgiven by the Lord Jesus Christ for their sins, but they then must move forward and become truth-tellers even though it may be to their own hurt.
This is the Hebrew word seqer, which means lying or false. It does seem that a lie has great power and gets you out of trouble and gains you certain privileges, but those gains are only for a moment is what Solomon is asserting. And quickly the moment of the lie's power will fade and the destruction that it causes will be with you a long time.