When a Kiss is not Just a Kiss

The Princess Bride Kiss

No one is quiet sure where kissing originated or who invented it. I’d gladly kiss whoever did. Those who research such things say most cultures have some form of kissing and have had since time began. In all cultures kissing is an act of intimacy: from an air kiss when greeting someone to nuzzling a new-born baby to the sensual Western world’s romantic kiss. Personally the last is my favorite.

But what does honesty have to do with kissing?

Eugene C. Scott joins Mike in writing A Daily Bible Conversation twice a week.

TODAY’S READING (click here to view today’s reading online)

Jeremiah 6:16-8:7

Colossians 2:8-23

Psalm 78:1-31

Proverbs 24:26


Jeremiah 6:16-8:7: The first section of this reading is a dire warning for disobedience. Once again God lays out the specifics of Israel’s sin and, if they do not repent, the consequences of their disobedience.

God is amazing. He sends Isaiah, Jeremiah, Amos, Jonah, and a slew of other prophets to warn God’s beloved people to repent and turn back to him. In Jonah’s case, God even warns a nation who are not “his people.”

Two thoughts: First, God spends more time correcting the sins of his people than those who have not made a covenant with him. Yet, it seems that Christianity spends more time bewailing the sins of those on the outside than those on the inside. Second, God always seems to send ample warning and opportunity for his people to repent before he sends wrath. Therefore, do the earthquakes, random diseases, and tragedies that befall us humans always point to God’s wrath? If so, where is the explicit warning and opportunity for repentance?

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“An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips,” the writer of Proverbs tells us. How so?

Though some may argue that “The Princess Bride” is simply a sweet, silly romp of a love story, “Princess Bride” author William Goldman does not just marry off Buttercup and Wesley. He too marries honesty with kissing.

“Is this a kissing book?” the grandson (Fred Savage) asks his grandfather (Peter Falk) as Falk reads to him in the beginning of the movie.

“Wait, just wait,” Falk answers. But later in the story we learn, “Since the invention of the kiss, there have only been five kisses that were rated the most passionate, the most pure. This one [between Wesley and Buttercup] left them all behind.”

By then Savage’s character is hooked and doesn’t mind the kiss on the lips because Wesley’s (Carey Elwes) honesty and bravery has earned him that passionate and intimate kiss with Buttercup (Robin Wright). It is the most passionate, most pure kiss because of the honesty with which it is pursued and delivered.

How are a kiss on the lips and an honest answer similar? Both require intimacy. Honesty is not just stating facts or statistics. There are lies, dam lies, and then there are statistics, the old but true saying goes. Kissing and truth-telling both require vulnerability and authenticity, closeness. When Wesley drops his Dread Pirate Roberts mask, Buttercup realizes who he really is and how much she loves and trusts him.

Giving someone a factual report requires no risk, no relationship. Telling someone the truth, how you feel, what you think, and who you really are calls for an earned trust and a closeness that often only comes through facing difficulty together, as did Wesley and Buttercup.

Honest answers and a kiss on the lips also involve bravery. When I was in third grade, my best-friend told me he would pay me a quarter to kiss a certain girl on the lips. I was scared to death and could not summon the courage, even for a quarter. In later years, I’ve been asked to give an honest answer in difficult situations and have too often backed down. After my cowardly breakdown, there always seems to be a distance between me and the one I was supposed to be honest with.

Kisses on the lips and honest answers are also similar in that they are gentle. A kiss is not a right hook. Too often “honest” people offer their truth like a right hook. And they feel they have accomplished something if they delivered a fat lip. The difference here is that a kisses that are given are gentle and bless and strengthen the other person. A kiss that is taken is a punch that deflates and manipulates. Plus a gentle kiss does not make a person put up his dukes in defense but rather produces a smile and openness, even to difficult truths.

What if our close relationships could be summed up the way Wesley and Buttercup’s kiss was? “Since the invention of the honest answer, there have only been five answers that were rated the most passionate, the most pure. This one left them all behind.”

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Eugene co-pastors The Neighborhood Church in Littleton, CO and writes a blog eugenesgodsightings.blogspot.com


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2 responses to “When a Kiss is not Just a Kiss

  1. elna

    one of the most sobering aspects of the prophets is how the people who are religious are called to order. These Israelites did everything right. They brought the right offerings, attended the right feasts, they did even more…they gave God their children by burning them (God in their mind) Jer7:31 . Martin Luther says in his Treatise about good works that the first and foremost commandment is to love God. Jeremiah echoes this in chapter 7:23 Do we really love God?

    Jer7:11 Jesus again ‘agrees’ with Jeremiah when both calls the temple a ‘den of robbers’ and surely God destroyed both temples, in Jeremiah and Jesus’ time, as He destroyed the dwelling in Shiloh. The one reason why the people did not believe Jeremiah as prophet is because in Isaiah’s time the temple was saved through a miracle in Isaiah 37. Therefor everyone believed they were in God’s will and could do no wrong, except jeremiah. He remembered the rest of Isaiah’s prophecy about the destruction of the temple if the people did not repent. That’s why Jeremiah says in Chapter 7:4 – 15 that the people are mistaken about them being safe because of the temple. How often do we do the same when we look at our big church buildings, our christian literature, gospel songs, etc etc and then we forget the God we are to obey and honour. Because He is a righteous and jealous God who will judge and only show mercy if we repent from our sins and turn to Him.

    • Elna:

      I owe you two responses. I was under the weather for a couple of days and am now catching up. Mike and I have both commented about how God has developed in you such a heart and mind for the Old Testament. How did that come about? We really enjoy and are sharpened by our correspondence with you. Thank you.

      Yes, the theme of empty sacrifice without loving obedience echos from King Saul on. God demands more. And part of the issue is not knowing God. How could they think God wanted them to kill their children? And as you ask, what is analogous in our modern interaction with God? Where are our responses to him empty or completely missing the mark?

      And in the church we do tend to interpret our status with God based on the blessing of buildings, bodies, and budgets. But that seems so one dimensional and external. The trouble with this surface relationship with God is that it remains on the surface and then we rail at God when life gets deep and painful. Therefore, is the pain God brings and allows, there to show us how deep God is (Deep calls to deep) and how deep we can go with him?

      Going all the way back to your Sabbath comments. Thank you. I believe Jesus healed and “worked” on the Sabbath puposefully (or even rebelliously, as you joked) to show the religious leaders they had the idea and application of Sabbath wrong. In those days keeping Sabbath laws strictly as the religious leaders interpreted them was at the top of the list for showing you were holy and righteous. Jesus took that mindset on directly. I had never before seen the message also in the kind of work he did.

      Thanks again for reading the blog and being a part of the conversation.


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