Chapter 5 verse 12 are the words that Jesus spoke (Matthew 5:34-37) “Let your yes be yes and your no be no”. In The Message this verse reads “And since you know that He cares, let your language show it. Don’t add words like “I swear to God” to your own words. Don’t show your impatience by concocting oaths to hurry up God. Just say yes or no. Just say what is true. That way, your language can’t be used against you.”
God wants us to be clear with what we say. He wants us to speak plainly and truthfully. In the time of Jesus, the Jews would make an oath (swear, promise) on an earthly object such as the altar or the temple rather than on the name of God. If they then broke that promise they thought that they would not be judged by God because it was not made in His name – what a cop out! As written in the Matthew reference, Jesus disapproved of this practice. If we swear to something does it make it any truer than if we just said yes or no? It shouldn’t do, so why do we need to do it? If someone continues to make promises and then fails to follow through with them, we soon lose trust in them. If we stick to a definite yes or no, then we will be known to be a trustworthy person, but we must be willing to go the distance and put in the effort. If we say yes but we mean no, then it is a lie that we are speaking to ourselves and to others and it is not coming from our heart. If we truly want to be like Jesus, then everything we say should be true.
There will come a day when we will have to stand before God and give account for our broken promises. How much easier it will be if we live and speak with words of truthfulness. If we do this our lives will speak volumes to the people around us. We give honour to God when we keep our word.
The only person who will always keep his promises is God.
Prayer – Lord I pray for your wisdom so that I can show mercy, love, peace and consideration for others. In your Holy Name – Amen.