September 12th 2018 – Proverbs 24:23-26

These also are sayings of the wise.

Partiality in judging is not good.
Whoever says to the wicked, “You are in the right”,
    will be cursed by peoples, abhorred by nations,
 but those who rebuke the wicked will have delight,
    and a good blessing will come upon them.
Whoever gives an honest answer
    kisses the lips.

Proverbs 24:23-26

We come to further 'words of the wise' in these verses. They deal with four subjects, the first of which (24-26) relates to respect of persons and straight speaking. The point about saying to the wicked 'Thou art righteous' can only be that there is some ulterior motive in doing so - e.g. flattery with a view to winning favour. This shows how basic integrity can be compromised by matters of expediency. On the other hand, forthrightness and straightness of speaking, even if costly, will win respect and esteem from right-thinking people and receive their blessings. The Apostle James takes up this theme in his epistle (2:1-12), and his words should be studied along with these. It should hardly need saying, however, that there is no warrant here for the 'hob-nailed' frankness that some people pride themselves in having, when they 'speak their minds' with the most blatant insensitivity and hurtfulness. Of all insensitive people, they are the most insensitive and most brutish; but this is a far cry from the straight honesty and integrity advocated here that is not prepared, for peace's sake or out of fear or cowardice, to remain silent when a rebuke is called for.