Be Promoters of Peace
17 An honest witness tells the truth,
but a false witness tells lies.
18 The words of the reckless pierce like swords,
but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
19 Truthful lips endure forever,
but a lying tongue lasts only a moment.
20 Deceit is in the hearts of those who plot evil,
but those who promote peace have joy. – Proverbs 12:17-18
There is a lot said in these verses about the use of our tongues to influence the world around us. Words have power to change the lives of people in our lives. We have a choice to make every time we open our mouths. We can choose to be an honest witness in telling the truth. We can also choose to be a false witness in telling lies.
One of the most prominent reasons we tell lies is to diffuse a difficult situation or to keep conflict from happening. Although this might seem to be effective in the short run, these lies often lead to more lies. As they build up, the tower of lies becomes more and more unstable and impossible to continue holding up. All at once it comes tumbling down, causing more damage than would have even been caused in the first place if the truth had prevailed. These reckless lies end up piercing like swords, much deeper than could even have been fathomed.
Although there is no doubt many of us have seen webs of lies fall apart at some point in our lives, Scripture speaks of this very same thing in many places throughout the Psalms and Proverbs. The words we speak bear witness to who we are. The truths we tell bear witness to our character. Verse 19 tells us that truthful lips endure forever. There are many people of great reputation who are known for their honesty and integrity in all they do. Not only does their reputation precede them, but they become sources for council and wisdom for others to week. This is one of the many side effects of being people of truth: our truthful words will endure forever.
Finally, as the Christ’s Church, we are called to be people of peace, just as He is a man of peace. In verse 20, we see in the first line the destructive and broken hearts of those who have chosen to fill their lives with lies and deceit. In the final line, we see something a little different than what we’ve seen in the past 3 verses. It does not contrast the lies of the first line by speaking strictly of truth. Instead, it speaks of peace. This is because when we are choosing to be speakers of truth, we are also promoters of peace. Truth naturally brings about peace.
We are promised joy when we choose to be promoters of peace. The truth we speak brings about peace, and this same peace brings about joy in our lives. Where there is truth, deceit cannot exist. Where there is peace, turmoil cannot remain. Where there is joy, there will be a fullness of life, because wherever we find joy, we will undoubtedly find Christ, for joy and Jesus are one in the same.