The Benefits of Having no Respect of Persons – Proverbs 24:26

Proverbs 24:26 “Every man shall kiss his lips that giveth a right answer.”

Kiss (H5401) – touch lightly, figuratively or literally.  This Hebrew word for kiss rarely is used in a romantic sense.  It often expresses the dearness of relationships between family and friends, especially at farewell.  It shows a mutual acceptance of moral qualities (Psalm 85:10) – AMG’s Complete Word Study Dictionaries

The kiss in the Middle East was a symbolical act representing affection and esteem.

Thus in this passage, people figuratively kiss by accepting, esteeming, and regarding the one who gives a right answer.

Right (H5228) – plain, upright, correct, straight, integrity

Answer (H1697) – this word is used over 1,400 times and translated by 85 different English words in the KJV.  In Exodus 34:28, Deuteronomy 4:13, 10:4, the word “commandments” in referencing the Ten Commandments is translated from this same Hebrew word.  God’s commandments are His very words to us.  This Hebrew word is also used in the familiar phrase, “the word of the Lord” used by prophets when they shared their message from God.  This word essentially means, “Word, matter, or thing” – Lexical Aids to the Old Testament.

The context of this verse is part of a group of four topics of things that belong to the wise according to H. A. Ironside’s Commentary on these verses (Prov. 24:23-34).  The four topics are

  1. Having no respect of persons in judgement (Prov. 24:23-26)
  2. Counting the cost (Prov. 24:27)
  3. Prejudiced witness (Prov. 24:28-29), and
  4. Slothfulness (Prov. 24:30-34).

Our verse today, “Every man shall kiss his lips that giveth a right answer” is the last of four verses dealing with the first thing belonging to the wise, having no respect of person’s in judgement.

This social approbation (approval, satisfaction, fitness for public trust)/kissing because of a right answer is one of three blessings of not having respect of persons.  The other two are found in the preceding verse (Prov. 24:25).  The three blessings for not having respect of persons are the following:

  1. Delight (in rebuking the wrong)
  2. A good blessing (God’s favor).
  3. Social approbation  (approval, satisfaction, fitness for public trust)

While most of us, probably will not ever find ourselves in a court of law with an opportunity to have respect of persons (favoritism to another because of wealth, fame, and/or other desirable characteristic), we certainly will in a wide range of life’s circumstances.  These verses can be applied to situations where there is the temptation to have respect of persons.  Respect of persons is wrong because of two reasons.

  1. God does not show respect to persons (Rom. 2:11, 1 Pet. 1:17) and
  2. It creates an unjust double standard (James 2:1-4)

God shows no favoritism; therefore nothing can buy His favor, that is, to cause judgment to be twisted.  Nothing should buy our favor either.  When things buy our favor there will be twisted judgment.

Have you ever been in a large group where you want to speak up, but do not exactly know how to say what you want to say in response to a topic that seems to demand a response?  Then someone else says exactly what you wanted to say and how you wanted to say it.  The acceptance and appreciation that you feel for that right answer is an application of the “no respect of persons” principle this verse is talking about.  Also this verse applies to an individual that can take a controversial subject, simplify it, make the subject understandable in an understanding way, and give clear and right insight on the issue.   People will sincerely appreciate this individual’s right answer that goes against the political correctness of today’s thinking.  The political correctness of today seeks to legalize evil and call those who stand against evil bigots.

For example, Immorality is a self-destructive sin, and legalizing it in no way diminishes its consequences.  Calling evil good does not make it good, just as much as calling dog poop brownies does not make dog poop brownies.  Our generation needs people that are willing to stand alone from the crowd and share the truth in love (Exodus 23:2, Eph. 4:15).  To stand by and say nothing against the evil is to ok it.

Isaiah 5:20-21 says, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!  Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!”  By God’s grace, let’s purpose to stand for what is right in God’s eyes according to His Word, the Bible.  Let’s be ready to give an answer to anyone that asks a reason of the hope that is in us, not with a prideful attitude, but with meekness (humility) and fear (respect, reverence) (1 Peter 3:15).  While the situations we may find ourselves in may be very difficult, when the opportunity arises, give that right answer.  It will be appreciated.