Today's Word of Encouragament
YES OR NO
Wednesday, June 17, 2020
Let what you say be simply 'Yes' or 'No'; anything more than this comes from evil (Matthew 5:37).
It is obvious to anyone who reads the Gospels that this was not a literal command of the Lord to His followers. Jesus did not limit His conversations to a simple 'Yes' or 'No'. So, what is His point?
Swearing an oath, making a promise, declaring a vow, may be well intentioned, but the tendency of the mind, heart, and tongue is to elaborate, justify, explain details, etc., that often cause a person to deviate from the simple truth. Furthermore, no one knows the future except the Lord, and making a promise on a future action is a risky thing since a person cannot truthfully predict what circumstances or situations may arise that would cause that promise to fail.
Someone said, "In normal conversation, when we hear a man swear to a thing, it's a pretty good bet he knows what he's saying is false, and we should be on our guard. He who breaks the 3rd Commandment will not hesitate to break the 9th also." I don't know that that's always true, but experience has taught me that it's not always false.
Albert Barnes wrote, "A person who is always believed is a person whose character is beyond suspicion in all things, who obeys all the laws of God, and whose simple declaration, therefore, is enough. A man that is truly a Christian, and leads a Christian life, does not need oaths and profaneness to make him believed'".
Going beyond 'yes' or 'no' in affirming or denying a matter - as if our word is not enough, and we expect others to question it - comes from our predisposition to 'stretch' the truth or 'water down' the facts in order to avoid suspicion of our credibility. In other words, we are prone to justify our 'yes' or 'no' to convince others (even ourselves?) that we are telling the truth. And all too often, in the justifying our affirmation or denial, we add or subtract from the matter, making our word less than honest.
The bottom line is this - when answering a question or statement regarding a matter that requires a simple answer, then that is what is to be given. If a simple 'yes' or 'no' is required, then give a simple 'yes' or 'no' and avoid setting yourself up for a trap. My 7th grade algebra teacher, Mrs. Inez Neal (who was also a good friend of my mother), use to say, "Speak the simple truth, otherwise God may give you just enough rope to hang yourself!"
"Father, let the words of my mouth, and the meditations of my heart, be acceptable in Your sight, my Rock and my Redeemer. Let my every conversation be honest and forthright, without ambiguity or untruthfulness, free of criticism and condemnation, so that You may be honored in my works and my words. Amen."