“But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one” Matthew 5:37 (NKJV).
I’m sure many of us can remember growing and knowing somebody (or still may know somebody) that would emphasize the moment when they’re telling the truth. They would say things like “I promise,” “For real,” “I swear,” “I put that on…,” and other statements I’m sure you can think that I don’t have space to mention. Ironically, those that had to prove they were telling the truth, were probably known for being untrustworthy, or even this would indicate they were not telling the truth at this moment.
Jesus mentions here which eventually became a well-known saying: “My word is my bond.” Jesus says that you do not have to “swear” to make an oath between you and another person. When you say something, it becomes an oath. This is why it is important to always remember that words matter.
Those of us who have children or work with children know that if you tell a child you are going to do something, they will remember. They may not understand the timing and ask before the event, but they will not forget that you said that you were going to do something.
I remember teaching children’s church and mentioning to them that I will bring candy “next time I teach.” However, when some of them saw me on the next Sunday, they reminded me that I was supposed to bring the candy.
Although I explained that it was not time yet, it did not change the fact that they remembered I said that I would bring them candy. Children have unique ability in ensuring we are honest and the lesson of honestly we learn from them should be how we interact with everyone. We should not be making false statements to people to not hurt their feelings or to even cover up some of our mistakes.
Therefore, when we speak to our spouses and we tell them that we will do something, the action needs to take place. When we tell our friends something, they should have the faith in us that it will be done. When we tell our church family something, we need to give our best efforts to make it happen. When you meet a stranger that does not know you or you do not know them and you say something, even that is a point your word needs to remain true.
Yes, there are times when we mean well and our desire is to make good on our oath, but circumstances happen that cause us to fall short of our oaths. However, we should not be failing at the extent it becomes our reputation.
The Rev. DeRon Harper is a member of Baconton MBC and the United Ministerial Alliance.