Matthew 5:37 Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’, and your ‘No’, ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.
When I was teaching high school Bible and we were studying the Sermon on the Mount and we arrived at this passage, I used to point out to the teens that many in this society look upon them as immature little kids. Many adults had forgotten what it was like to be young and now would look down upon the teens and many ways. I would argue that one of the ways the teens may perpetuate that would be by not keeping their word. I would use this passage as reference to how many times in their lives they have had to say to an adult, “I promise.” Or say, “I swear…” I would further instruct them that if our society already did not trust them and they had to say these phrases just to gain an ounce of trust, they were just digging themselves deeper into a hole. In order to gain trust from adults, they had to live their lives in such a way that their ‘Yes’ would be ‘Yes’, and their ‘No’, ‘No’. If they lived in this fashion, they may gain some trust.
My question is, “Does this apply to teens only?” Are we not living in a society now that is full of cynicism and distrust? Maybe instead of saying, “I promise” or “I swear”, we may be explaining ourselves with more words than we need or want to use. We also need to live our lives in such a way that our ‘Yes’ would be ‘Yes’, and our ‘No’, ‘No’. Isn’t that what Jesus is saying? Furthermore, when I hear someone going beyond the ‘Yes’ and ‘No’, I tend to throw up a wall of distrust myself.
What really jumps out at me recently is that rest of the passage. “…anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” Wow! If I am living in such a way that I have to make promises and oaths just in order to be trusted, I am not living a life of godliness…at least not in the area of being a trustworthy individual. When I say I am going to do something, I need to do it. Not only because it is right, but also so that the next time, my ‘Yes’ will mean ‘Yes’ without question. And…when I live in such a way that my word needs no explanation, I keep the evil one at bay. I need to live my life in such a way so that my ‘Yes’ means ‘Yes’, and my ‘No’ means ‘No’.
- Explain a situation where you had to give more than a ‘Yes’ or a ‘No’.
- Why do you think you had to go further than the simple ‘Yes’ and ‘No’?
- Where in your life do you need to change in order to be trustworthy?
- Spend some time in prayer this week and ask God to reveal where you have fallen short as far as this passage is concerned. Ask God to help you to restore that situation and rebuild the trust you have broken.
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