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.
How important is credibility? Whatever the false witness hopes to gain, it will cost him his reputation. He may lie for the sake of convenience, in an attempt to impress others, or as a means of harming his enemies – but eventually he brings trouble, shame and defeat on himself. A reputation takes years to establish, but it can be ruined in a moment. It may be difficult to tell the truth, but it can be disastrous not to.
“The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Words have the power to deeply wound, but they also have the power to heal. It is vital to not only consider the words you use, but also the effect they will have. It is impossible to undo the damage of a hurtful word, the wound may heal but the scar remains. But a kind word has the power to reconcile a relationship, spark new growth, and change the course of a life.
“Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue last only for a moment.” Truthfulness and deceit are opposites, but they are not equal. Truth is enduring, consistent and unavoidable – it will ultimately always prevail. Deceit may be intimidating, but it is also vulnerable. It inflates like a giant balloon, dreadful and oppressive, but the smallest of truths can puncture it like a needle. Align your life with truth, and you will have no reason to fear it.