No smoke screen
But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one. Matthew 5:37
When I was young, other kids would often say, “I swear on a stack of Bibles.” Meaning they were being as honest and authentic as they could possibly be. Like one Bible was not enough to stress their point. Today’s scripture says don’t swear by anything because you don’t even have the power to change any natural thing because it all belongs to God. It goes on to say if you say “yes” when you mean yes and “no” when you mean no, others will trust your word when it comes to important things, because you were trustworthy in the little things.
I like the way the message translation breaks this passage down. It says:
“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.
So, the passages is telling us don’t say things you don’t really mean or intend to do, just to make yourself look super spiritual or putting on the pretense of caring. I know in my own life, I tend to want to excuse or justify my responses to ensure that I am clearly communicating without offending others or making myself look bad. But the truth is, I only need to be clear and not misleading in my answer. That doesn’t mean I have to be rude, I just give the answer “yes” or “no”. No excuses, no flattery and no smoke screen. Simple as that.
Today I want to encourage you to be upfront with others. Don’t but on a façade to pretend you are something that you are not. That will only get you into trouble. Be authentic and real with people and clearly communicate your intentions without being underhanded and sneaky. Give clear and concise answers like yes and no, but don’t feel like you have to justify or excuse your response. Lastly, don’t make up and promise to do things for others that you don’t intend to do like praying for them or blessing them. Just be honest and loving and you will stay far from the intensions of the evil one every time.
Today’s scripture reading: Matthew 5:33-37
33 “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’
34 But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne;
35 nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.
36 Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black.
37 But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.