Proverbs 24:26

An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips. (NIV)


Why is an honest answer like a kiss on the lips? Well, before I can answer that question I’m going to have to examine the word, “honest” and see what it means.

Honest comes from the Latin word honestus, which means

  1. Full of or regarded with honor or honour; honorable or honourable, of high birth, noble, distinguished, respectable, eminent.
  2. Bringing or deserving honor or honour; worthy, creditable, respectable; decent, virtuous.
  3. (of one’s appearance) Fine, handsome, beautiful, becoming, noble.


The earliest English use of the word, honest, was 1300 AD and was used to describe one as having a “respectable, decent [and] neat appearance”. By 1400 AD honest had come to mean “dealing fairly, truthful, free from deceit” which is how we see the word used today.

The Hebrew word that is used here is nakoach which means, “straightforward, plain, right”.

Therefore, an honest answer is straightforward, plain, and right, without deceit or guile. Okay, so what’s the deal with kissing on the lips? In the New Testament Paul refers to a “holy kiss” five times (Romans 16:16, 1 Corinthians 16:20, 2 Corinthians 13:12, and 1 Thessalonians 5:26). The type of kiss that Paul is referring to is one that showed brotherly love, unity, acceptance, and close friendship. This “holy kiss” was without deceit or insincerity and lacked any sort of sexual expression. It’s the type of kiss you’d get from a family member such as a grandparent.

So, an honest answer is like a kiss on the lips because it has been given without deceit or guile, sincerely showing love and honor for the one upon whom it was bestowed.

That’s something to think about then, isn’t it? I mean, if that’s what an honest answer is then a dishonest answer doesn’t show love and honor. Therefore, when we speak to people honestly we show love and respect to them, as well as to God, and when we lie we dishonor ourselves, as well as those to whom we have lied.

As Christians, we are to love God and to love our neighbors as ourselves. I know that I have often thought of ways in which I can show love to other people. Frankly, just being honest never occurred to me as a relatively easy way to show love to other people. We are reminded time and again throughout Scripture that we need to be careful of what we say. Often I think that, when we think of using the tongue for destructive purposes, we think about cursing and name-calling. We think of how words are used to deliberately hurt other people.

Hopefully, now that we know that being honest to people is a way to show love to them we’ll be more honest in all of our dealings.