The second half of Proverbs 24 is known as “sayings of the wise”. This saying compares giving a right answer with “kissing the lips”. A right answer is straightforward, honest response to an inquiry. Such words reflect love, respect and intimacy. The greatest sign of affection and respect for another is to tell the person the truth.
The opposite of being straightforward destroys one’s personal integrity and undermines the justice system, which depends on honest testimony. Worse still, it displays a lack of trust in the Lord who judges justly in His timing.
We are not called to be rude, we are called to be truthful. The wise should never engage in a conversation without appropriate preparation.
“I could never draw the line between meanness and dishonesty. What is mean, so far as I can see, slides by indistinguishable gradations into what is dishonest.”
– George Macdonald