As essential aspects of God’s character, honesty and truthfulness are highly commended in Scripture. God is truth (Psalm 117:2), and it is impossible for Him to tell a lie (Hebrews 6:18). Therefore, God desires His people to be honest in their innermost being (Psalm 51:6). In Proverbs 24:26, Solomon asserts, “An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips.”
In most instances, a kiss on the lips is a pleasing and desirable physical expression of love. A kiss is welcome when it is motivated by heartfelt affection or genuine respect. In many cultures today and in ancient times, a kiss is not exclusively a romantic gesture. In the Old Testament, kisses were exchanged in greetings among family members (Genesis 29:11, 13; 33:4; 45:15; 48:10; Exodus 4:27) and often served as expressions of honor, homage, or sincere friendship (2 Samuel 15:5; 1 Kings 19:18; 1 Samuel 10:1; 20:41).
In the New Testament, Christians greeted one another with “a holy kiss” as a symbol of their familial fellowship in the Lord (Romans 16:16; 1 Corinthians 16:20; 2 Corinthians 13:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:26; 1 Peter 5:14). Jesus rebuked Simon the Pharisee for not offering Him the customary and hospitable greeting with a kiss (Luke 7:36–50).
An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips because, when we speak honestly and truthfully, we show authentic concern for the one we are addressing. Like a kiss on the lips, telling the truth is a delightful and desirable expression driven by sincere affection, friendship, and respect.
One commentary expounds, “A good answer is as good as a kiss. The good answerer does a thing as grateful as a friend does who kisses his friend. He removes doubts and errors, vices and perplexities” (Fausset, A. R., A Commentary, Critical, Experimental, and Practical, on the Old and New Testaments: Job—Isaiah, vol. III, William Collins, Sons, & Co., Ltd., p. 493). Another commentator explains, “The kiss of a lover is one of the greatest delights known to humans. That same level of delight results from an honest answer” (Lennox, S. J., Proverbs: a Bible Commentary in the Wesleyan Tradition, Wesleyan Pub. House, 1998, p. 254).
Straightforward, honest speech is not only the mark of genuine friendship but of true Christian character. Scripture says that God does not tolerate dishonesty. “I will not allow deceivers to serve in my house, and liars will not stay in my presence,” states the Lord in Psalm 101:7 (NLT). Truthfulness does not come naturally to unregenerated humans (Psalm 116:11); therefore, inward honesty proves that the “Spirit of truth” is at work in a person’s heart (John 15:26; 16:13). Those who walk in fellowship with God walk in the light and practice the truth (1 John 1:5–10). As Christians mature in the Lord, they will be honest with themselves and others.
The person who answers honestly reveals that truth dwells within his heart (Matthew 15:18). When we say what is true and right, we demonstrate moral integrity. We show that truthfulness and honesty are qualities of our inner self.
The psalmist instructs sinners to “kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him” (Psalm 2:12, ESV). This psalm urges defiant humans to abandon their rebellion against God and humbly embrace the Messiah, Jesus Christ, before it’s too late.
Instead of resisting Christ, we must “kiss the Son” by humbling ourselves in submission to Him as those bowing before an earthly king to kiss his ring. We “kiss the Son” when we reverently accept Jesus as our sovereign Lord and King. In honor, respect, love, and obedience, we abase ourselves before Him. Only those who humbly embrace the Son with a kiss can “speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church” (Ephesians 4:15, NLT).
“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver” (Proverbs 25:11, ESV), and an honest answer is pleasing and reassuring, “like a kiss on the lips” to the hearer (see also Proverbs 15:23). A kiss expresses love, devotion, sincerity, honor, respect, and submission—it is an outward illustration reflecting the inner reality of the heart.