In today’s society, our sinful world, you never know who you can trust. In my younger days, I was very naive. I guess that’s the innocence of living in an environment of protection within the close confines of my loving family. When my folks told me they were going to do something, well I could take it to the bank. If Mom said we were going to go to the park to play today, then I could count on it happening. If my Dad told me we were going fishing today. I knew we were going fishing. There was no doubt.
Sadly though as the father of my own children, I can’t say that I was that consistent. I know of times that I was intending to go do this or do that with my kids and things would come up that would change my agenda. This usually happened as a result of having my hands in too many projects. But what this did was create an environment where my sons couldn't trust my word. It didn’t happen often, but the point is, it doesn’t have too. If we do not follow through with our word even once, we create doubt or a lack of trust in those that were counting on us. We shouldn’t have to use the words… “I promise,” at the end of our sentence to make other feel more comfortable with the commitment we just made. Today’s verses take a look at the importance of telling the truth and keeping our promises.
(33) “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, “Do not break your oath, but keep oaths you have made to the Lord.”
(34) But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne;
(35) or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.
(36) And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black.
(37) Simply let your “Yes” be “Yes,” and your “No,” “No”; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.
Here, Jesus was emphasizing the importance of telling the truth. People were breaking promises and using sacred language casually and carelessly. Keeping promises is so very important. Keeping promises help to build relationships and develop trust within those relationships. The bible has a lot to say about keeping our promises. It condemns making vows or taking oaths casually, giving your word when you know you won’t keep it, or swearing falsely in God’s name. (Exodus 20:7, Leviticus 19:12, Numbers 30:1,2, Deuteronomy 19:16-20). Oaths and vows were common, but Jesus told his followers not to use them. Their word alone should be enough.
How do others take your word? Do they believe that you’ll keep your word and follow through on what you say? Are you known as a person of your word? It’s sad but truthfulness seems so rare anymore that we feel we have to try and convince people we will do what we say we’re going to do. We say things like, you can trust me, or I promise, at the end of our statements and we vow to follow through on them. Our society breeds distrust, so were often trying to get others to believe in us and trust our word. If we would tell the truth all the time, we would have less pressure to back up our words with an oath or a promise.
I know in my own life, these verses hit really close to home. I’m reminded of my own weaknesses and opportunities that I have in this area. My hope and prayer is that I will be more aware of my words and my commitments and really begin to see the impact my lack of follow through on my commitments can have on my friends and family. I need to follow the example of Jesus and His words. How would I feel if I couldn’t depend on my Lord and Savior to follow through with His commitments to me. If I couldn’t count on Jesus and rely on his truth in His word, then I wouldn’t have any faith in my eternal life. I wouldn’t be able to count on His power and strength getting me through the difficult times in my life. I would lose all hope. But because we can rely on the word of God, I can live my life with peace and comfort. I have no fears or doubts about my future, because Christ has promised me eternal life and I know I can take that to the bank. His word never fails.
Prayer: Help me to always speak the truth, and to always follow through and do what I say I’m going to do. Lord may my “Yes” be “Yes” and my “No” be “No.” May I not be one that feels the need to tack on an oath at the end of my statements so people can trust me and be able to count on me. Thank you Lord for this lesson today. It’s in Jesus name I pray. Amen.