Truthful lips will be established forever, but a lying tongue is only for a moment. Proverbs 12:19 (NASB)
The Emphasized Bible says:
A lip that is faithful shall be firm to futurity, but only for a twinkling (while I wink) is a tongue that is false. Proverbs 12:19 (Rotherham)
When something is “established forever” it means it persists and remains, compared to those things that appears “for only a moment” or vanish quickly. “A lip that is faithful” is a heart and value for that which is true. Truth lasts. Why? Because it’s real. Present. Upon inspection it remains intact. A lie is not true (duh!) but something manufactured for a moment. For a particular and selfish cause. When you open your eyes and look for it, or shine a light upon it, it isn’t there.
This proverb is not just about truth or lies, it’s about the people aligned with them. Every day I may walk toward what is true, real, life-giving, or what is obscure, hidden, and self-serving. Clinging to “facts” doesn’t mean I have truthful lips. I may see a person with a face damaged in an auto accident. It’s a fact this one may not be magazine material, but to express that fact is not helpful. But the truth is: skin is only so deep. It is temporary. I must go deeper than what I see on the surface. Yet our heart, mind, and soul are eternal, which God finds extraordinarily valuable. Valuable enough to spend what is most valuable to Him to purchase something else that is of incredible value. Aligning with God’s heart allows me to interpret “facts” through the lens of truth.
The symbolism Solomon uses makes me smile. The expression “while I wink,” means, at the blink of an eye, or for a moment. I see a mischievous person telling a story or explaining something that is absurd, then winking, as if to say, “trust me.” Which to another means, you are pulling my leg and are full of it! Lies can be a playful way to communicate, or gravely misleading. Either way, it doesn’t last. It makes me think of the times I obfuscate my real motivation. Maybe I’m afraid to reveal what I really want, or I am intent on getting my way, even if it means I’m not fully truthful. And in this, I align with darkness.
So often “truth” speaks of things I cannot see. The only way I can speak it is if it has made its way into my heart. Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life…” To know him, his heart and his kingdom, allow me to see what is real, even if it looks like it contradicts the facts. From difficulty, despair and death on this earth, Jesus tells me I have life, victory, and richness in heaven. He’s given me gigabit download speeds to the internet of heaven in the Holy Spirit. It’s a choice to align with truth and speak it.