Proverbs 12:6 ESV
The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood, but the mouth of the upright delivers them.
Why do we worry about people’s character when we’re listening to them? You’re probably giving me a funny look right about now, I know, but we need to be able to answer this question. Why does a person’s moral character affect how much we trust them?
The answer is simple: wicked men deceive. Very often, they deceive in a way calculated to hurt those they speak to. To borrow the proverb’s phrasing, the words of the wicked lie in wait for blood. Wicked men lie, they manipulate, and they deceive; they do so for their own interests, for other’s hurt, and for immoral causes.
In contrast, the upright man can be trusted. When he says that he will do something, people know that he will do so. When he says something happened, people know that such was precisely what happened. Therefore, men can trust him; when he encounters deception, the light disperses the darkness.
Thus, when these two characters meet each other, when the liar meets the honest man, what eventuates?
According to this proverb, when the wicked ‘lie[s] in wait for blood,” the mouth of the upright will “deliver them”. Honesty isn’t just the best policy in a vacuum. Honesty and uprightness are a shield against bad practices, mendacity, and manipulation. Just as light disrupts and neutralizes darkness, so truth disrupts and destroys falsehood.
Who so besets him round with dismal stories /Do but themselves confound; his strength the more is. /No foe shall stay his might, though he with giants fight; /He will make good his right to be a pilgrim. He Who Would Valiant Be by John Bunyan, from Pilgrim’s Progress Part Two
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