“And don’t say anything you don’t mean. This counsel is embedded deep in our traditions. You only make things worse when you lay down a smoke screen of pious talk, saying, ‘I’ll pray for you,’ and never doing it, or saying, ‘God be with you,’ and not meaning it. You don’t make your words true by embellishing them with religious lace. In making your speech sound more religious, it becomes less true. Just say ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ When you manipulate words to get your own way, you go wrong.” (Matt 5:33-37, MSG)
How many among us keep our word? If we would take some time to delve into this topic, we would find that this is, indeed, a problem. We don’t always keep our word! It’s true that some are worse at this than others, but that doesn’t give any of us license to do so!
One day, it seems ions ago, my boss gave me her word concerning a work assignment. A few months later she retracted her promise. When I reminded her of her promise, she answered: “Do you have proof? I didn’t write it on paper, did I? No. What’s said can be forgotten.”
Are we any better? A dad promises his daughter to attend her Christmas concert; however, another emergency comes up, and he misses the concert. His daughter desperately cries: “But he promised!”
It’s even worse when we add “pious talk” to our promises. What will others think of our Heavenly Father when we don’t follow through?
I, too, do not always keep my promises. It’s true that I attempt to honor them at all times, but the fact is, at my age, I forget quite easily. I don’t mean to break my promises, I just forget. To avoid disillusionment, I always try to tell people, “Please remind me or I will forget!” It sure helps. When we share our weakness with others, they will always come through!
When my son flew back to my neck of the woods this summer, I promised him I would be at the airport when he arrived. For someone who doesn’t like to drive, that was a huge promise. It would have been easy for me to say to my son: “Sorry, there was too much traffic.” Or “I don’t feel so well!”
Instead I consulted with Google Maps and found a way to avoid highway traffic. I could make the drive to the airport through the country where cars are sparse. Terrific! I made certain that I would be there on time.
Why would I ever want to leave my son stranded? I hadn’t seen him for 6 months! Imagine if I were to forget to pick him up. The next time, would he be so eager to visit?
Our “yes”, should always be a “yes” and our “no” should always be a “no”. After all, we are representatives of the Most High!
Jesus always keeps His word as well. He never fails to come through for us on time, as confirmed in Romans 5:6: “Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn’t, and doesn’t, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn’t been so weak, we wouldn’t have known what to do anyway.” (Rom 5:6, MSG)
By the way, can you pick me at the airport? I’ve already been waiting here for over 2 hours!
(To access the entire “Majestic Mountain View” devotional series, please click here.)