Matthew 5:37- But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.
We live in a culture today where people are either committing to all kinds of things without thinking …..or choosing not to be tied down to any kind of commitment. It’s kind of like the FaceBook invitations for a FB event and you have three possible answers,”Yes, No or Maybe?” In this increasingly non-committal culture, the value of people’s words means less and less. There may be more words but they mean nothing. Today if many want to change a promise made, they just say “things have changed, I need to do something else now”. Marriages that began with a solemn vow before God and men are quickly broken, justified with “I didn’t know it would be quite like this”. Financial commitments are walked away from, citing,”I didn’t know this would be so hard”. Even our president said,”if you like your plan you can keep it,period.”, all the while knowing it was untrue!
The value of our promise, a vow, our very words has trickled down to mean next to nothing.
A generation ago, people would “shake hands” on a lifetime business deal and marriage was viewed as a lifetime covenant, a solemn vow or promise based on the weight of your word. It meant something. Today…not so much. So people today are untrained to contemplate and weigh what they promise and end up getting over their heads. Then they can’t handle it, so they walk away from it. So we end up with two extremes: not committing or or over committing-both wrong.
“But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. But let your “Yes” be “Yes,” and your “No,” “No,” lest you fall into judgment.” - James 5:12
Then there are the Inner vows, the ones we make to ourselves in our head, that are even more complicated. These are unspoken vows we utter to ourselves in private. These are those comforting things we tell ourselves when in a difficult situation, many times not our choosing. But by making inner vows and reacting, we end up attempting to control that situation. Our over reaction to a problem that came upon us or even something we did to ourselves causes us to miss the opportunity to make Jesus King of that area and trust Him. Instead we attempt to “be Lord”, to control and say, “I’m never going to get boxed in like that.” “He’s never gonna treat me like that again.” ”I’ll never attempt to do that again.” All these are making vows to God and ourselves inwardly, trying to protect ourselves from the pain we experienced and not fully trusting God to keep us from another round!
But the only vows we are to make are to the Lord, to our mate in marriage; and then those significant promises we make that we can actually accomplish. When we say, ”I promise” others should be able to take that to the bank. (to be continued)