“Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies” Psalm 34:13

My friend and past colleague in the teaching profession, Colin Dykes, remembers an incident when he was a student at Maritzburg College. It had become popular for a number of young men to gather each morning for a game of darts. On one occasion they became so engrossed in their game they decided to skip the compulsory morning assembly. However, as the assembly ended a teacher discovered them playing and asked why they weren’t in the school hall. The youth immediately tried to bluff their way out of the situation and said they’d run back from the school hall the moment the assembly concluded. They also said that the teacher could speak to Colin and verify the facts as they’d sat next to Colin throughout the assembly. They then rushed off to find Colin in order to persuade him to substantiate their story. But Colin refused to cooperate. Despite their pleading and cajoling he said he wouldn’t lie.

Later that day Colin’s resolve was tested when he was called to the principal’s office to give an account of the events. He had the difficult task of telling the principal the truth, and, as he did, he knew full well that his testimony would result in his friends being severely punished.

What Colin’s friends didn’t realize was that he’d “resolved that (his) mouth (would) not sin” (Psalm 17:3). Colin knew that “the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous … and the face of the Lord is against those who do evil” Psalm 34:15-16. Thus Colin kept his “tongue from evil and (his) lips from speaking lies” Psalm 34:13.

We should live by the same standard. We shouldn’t “fear the reproach of men or be terrified by their insults” Isaiah 51:7. Our lips should be harbingers of honesty and wary of lies. Our desire should be for God to “keep falsehood and lies far from (us)” so that “the words of (our) mouth … will be pleasing in (His) sight” Proverbs 30:8; Psalm 19:14.

Sir Henry Wotton says,

“How happy is he born and taught,

That serveth not another’s will;

Whose armour is his honest thought

And simple truth his utmost skill.”

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