Words & Truth
Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil. – Matthew 5:37
The wrong, or incomplete, conclusion goes something like this:
IF Jesus says, “Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’” (Matthew 5:37).
THEN I just need to use fewer words when I make promises. Or, I should simply say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ when I make promises.
Question: How is that conclusion incomplete?
Answer: The above conclusion does not address the very heart of the problem. Our words must actually be true.
Question: How do I verify if my words are true?
Answer: When my actions are following the path of God, who is the definition of truth, reality.
It is true that Jesus says, “Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’” (Matthew 5:37). However, as Pastor Mike shared, “Our speech and the integrity behind our words must be true.”
Therefore, if I ONLY conclude that I need to use less words when I make promises, I have forgotten to consider whether or not the fewer words I use are true! A simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ can still be full of blatant falsehood.
The problem with words is that we have come to realize the great power they have. James rightly understands the tongue is small but powerful (James 3:5). It can be used for great good and terrible evil (James 3:9). Solomon would agree with James as well. If you read Proverbs chapter 9, you will find that both wisdom and folly use their words to call out to the passerby. One offers words for life (Proverbs 9:1-12), the other promises life with her words which in fact are death (Proverbs 9:13-18).
The problem with words is that we often desire them to be believed on their own, for our benefit, rather than for them to be true. We want to be well thought of, so we say words that will give a good impression. They impress the boss. They brighten the child’s face. They give hope to the struggling sinner. In the moments when words are used, we want to be liked, we don’t want to be true. So, we make promises with our words that will sell ourselves to others.
The sad reality is that time always reveals our methods to fall short of truth. Our time in the sun will be gone. Bridges will be burned down. Our integrity will be destroyed when our words do not align with reality, truth.
How much better off we would be if we fought to be true, true to our Lord, than to use our dishonesty to impress others.
Question: Will I consider that God is true when I use my words?
Question: When I am tempted to lie for the impression of others, will I stop and ponder that God sees my heart?
Question: Will I be reminded that God is ultimately the One whom I should consider when I use my words?