“Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment.”
— Proverbs 12:19
“A fortune made by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor and a deadly snare.”
— Proverbs 21:6
“Inhale. Lie. Exhale. Lie.” This was the title of a front page article by David Shaw in the Los Angeles Times about the chronic lying that goes on in Hollywood. Shaw declares, “. . . In Hollywood, deception is a frustrating fact of everyday life, involving everything from negotiations and job changes to casting, financing and scores from test screenings.” Even box office numbers are “made up,” “fabricated” every week.
Anita Busch, editor of The Hollywood Reporter, says, “If I talk to one hundred people in a day, ninety-nine of them are lying, and the other one is my mother.”
For a person of integrity in media, it is stunning to see the no-big-deal attitude that exists toward lying, especially when one considers the idiocy and destructive potential of the act. One talent agent’s assistant said of her boss, “He lies about everything. He even lies for no reason!”
Proverbs exalts truthfulness as having weight and permanence, when it declares that “Truthful lips endure forever.” When a truthful person says, “I’ll purchase your car for $10,000 on Monday,” it carries weight. The moment the person says those words, hearers spring into action to respond to the event as if it has already happened. When a liar says the same thing, nobody responds. “Oh, he’s just saying that” is the hollow response. Not only does nothing happen on Monday, nothing happens a minute later. You read it above: “A lying tongue lasts only a moment.”
Wisdom Principle 9: Truthful words have hurricane force, but lies the impact of warm breath.
Because of the impact of truth, the truthful person has staying power. He’ll be around for a long time, because he cannot be ignored. Truth demands a response. The quickest way to get ignored, overlooked, or even shunned is to lie. Falsehood has no power except when it is accepted as true. The moment a lie is discovered, the liar has purchased his ticket out of town.
Wisdom Principle 10: Truth commands long-term respect, but a lie, and the one who speaks it, draw immediate derision.
Finally, even the gain from lying is illusory. It’s the Internet con artists who sucker millions of dollars from online investors only to see the benefit from their fortune go “poof” when the Feds slap them in chains. It’s the school kid who says “I didn’t steal the money” only to be expelled when Truth blows his cover. Even the notion of success through lying is a self-made trap, a “deadly snare.”
Wisdom Principle 11: A lie promises quick and easy benefit, but the promise itself is a lie.
Want to stand out in life? Dare to tell the truth . . . everywhere . . . about everything . . . all the time. Power, respect, and blessing will follow you because, “The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful” (Proverbs 12:22).