Truth saves, lies destroy
A truthful witness saves lives, but one who breathes out lies is deceitful— Proverbs 14:25.
Interpretation.— We might have expected [this proverb] to conclude with “destroys lives.” But the actual words imply as much, for what is more destructive than falsehood? The general sentiment seems to be that truth is most often found in union with kindness of heart, and falsehood with malevolence.
Illustrations.— Pharaoh’s butler, by speaking truth about Joseph, was the means of his deliverance out of prison. The false witnesses against Naboth and St. Stephen procured their deaths. Micaiah contrasts with Zedekiah and the other lying prophets in that he would by truthful warning have saved Ahab from the destruction upon which he rushed, encouraged by their dreadful promises…
Application.— To bear false witness is forbidden by the laws of God and man alike. And few are they who would venture upon such a crime in a court of justice. But, outside of it, the same caution is too often not observed; and many a character (dearer than life) is taken away, not only by words, but by expressive gesture, and even by silence. But, as a Christian, I am bound not only to abjure all such malevolence, but to be on the alert to save, not life only, but character, if it may be, by my testimony. Besides this, I am called on to witness for Christ in the world by word when opportunity offers, by example always. I ought, indeed, to hazard all for the interests of the truth, mindful of that true and faithful witness within the bosom, who will one day call me to account, should the cause of true religion suffer through my fault. And suffer it will, not only by silence, but still more by inconsistency if my conduct in the market or the office is not in keeping with my devotional exercises in church, or if, as a clergyman, I am not the same man out of the pulpit as in it….Alas! how many professed Christians, whose lives bear false witness to the gospel, are helping on the cause of the infidel and the scoffer, while they encourage others in inconsistency.
Incarnate Truth! grant me, in you and for you, always to speak the truth in love!
About the author and the source
While vicar of St. James’s Parish, Tunbridge Wells, Rev. Christopher Ridley Pearson wrote on Solomon’s proverbs, selecting one for each day of the year to spotlight its truths and suggest applications. A member of the Anglo-Catholic movement in the Church of England, he was known for his outreach to the lower classes and was controversial for restoring some Catholic forms of worship to his parish.
Christopher Ridley Pearson. Counsels of the Wise King; or, Proverbs of Solomon Applied to Daily Life. London: W. Skeffington & Son, 1880.