While I do not claim to be an expert on kissing, after being married for over 38 years and now having grandchildren, I have developed a rather high regard for the topic. While grandchildren should not be taught or allowed to kiss until the glandular drool issue is cared for, there are considerable upsides to kissing and being kissed by your spouse, children, and grandchildren.
Even those who have a low or narrow view of kissing would agree that being kissed is preferable to being thrust through with a sword. If those are the only options available the majority of us would even let the Aunt from Buffalo with whiskers and old perfume kiss us! Kissing is an intimate expression of affection and love. Isn’t that what makes pig kissing contests and the like so outrageously funny?
A few weeks ago in preparation for an important conversation I reviewed the Proverbs for any help I could find to control and direct my words. Remembering that 3 out of the 7 things in Prov.6:16-19 that God hates have to do with the misuse of words I wanted to be prepared. I came across Proverbs 24:26 and was shocked by the analogy. Here’s the proverb . . .
Whoever gives an honest answer kisses the lips.
Think about the truth being communicated in the analogy. An honest answer, if the context of 24:23-25 is considered, is an answer where right, appropriate words are spoken in a forthright manner in a complex situation. When others settle for shallow, unclear and untruthful talk, the one giving an honest answer draws attention to the truth in a way that is appropriate. Speaking truth lovingly in relationships where there are potential landmines of distrust and disagreement is a good thing. It both produces a benefit and communicates a commitment. Sort of like being kissed.
Think about the example of the father who says to his children, "I know that I disappointed you when I told you we would do such-and-such and we didn’t do it. I was wrong and I am sorry."
Or how about the friend who says to you, "Remember what I told you about that couple in our church last week? That was wrong for me to gossip about them and I ask your forgiveness."
Or what if someone carefully tells you something like, "I know that you have experienced some really hard things recently, but your attitude seems to me to be quite self focused and angry."
When we speak in these ways, it is like being kissed. The benefit is the sweetness and pleasure that can only come from experiencing the mixture of truth and love. The commitment communicated expresses a love and intimacy that can only exist in the bonds of truth and love. While there are times words like these are underappreciated, nevertheless they are like being kissed.
I came out of the conversation a few weeks ago knowing that I had been repeatedly kissed by loving, merciful, and honest people. We communicate the life transforming power of the gospel to each other in how we speak and what we say. We build or demolish redemptive relationships by the words that come from our mouths. Have you been kissed by someone’s honest talk recently? Consider how you can pass it on. Kissing and being kissed in these ways honors God and builds his Kingdom.
Do your words tend to feel more like a sword (Prov. 12:18) or a kiss?