Yes or no
One of the hardest things I find in caring for someone with advanced Parkinson’s, is never being able to look forward to anything. You can never be sure you are going to be able to make it, and plans have to be kept open to change. But I suppose life is like that for everyone in a way – you can never really know what’s round the corner.
So should we make promises? Can we ever be sure we are going to be able to fulfil them? Jesus warned about making oaths in Matthew 5:33-37. Swearing an oath by heaven, earth, a place, your own head… whatever… was disrespectful. But more than that, it was unnecessary. Simply saying you were going to do something should be strong enough. Your word should be your word. If circumstances genuinely prevent you, no amount of swearing can make the slightest difference!
The problem is that we may say we’ll do something, when we’ve only half a mind to. We say, “Yes, OK I’ll do my best to come,” when what we mean is, “I don’t want to come, but I don’t want to tell you that; so I’m pretty sure something else will come up so I won’t feel guilty about not coming”! “I’ll try…” is all too often a euphemism for “no”. I’ve heard the expression ‘D.V.’ or ‘God willing’ used against interruptions to plans. But it’s often more a matter of whether I’m willing!
Does it really matter when we all know how this works? If someone politely hedges round a straight ‘yes’ we can be pretty sure they mean ‘no’. But Jesus thought it mattered – “…anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”
God promised to send a saviour into the world, and it is no coincidence that Jesus is the Word of God. God truly gave his Word. And it cost him.
There will sometimes be overriding circumstances, that genuinely interfere with our intentions, but truth is part of our spiritual armour (Ephesians 6:14). It protects us. We need to be truthful.
God made me in his likeness, and he wants me to be like him. He kept his word to me. He didn’t ‘try’ or ‘do his best’.
Lord help me to make my ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and my ‘no’ be ‘no’ so that people will trust me, and know that my God keeps his promises too.