Sometimes I wonder if I’m reaching that point in my life where I’m becoming one of those “old dudes that complain about a lot of things”, that I complained about growing up. In the last year, there have been a lot of instances of people saying one thing, and then doing something different. I know it isn’t anything new. But it seems as though people’s word these days doesn’t really mean a whole lot. We see every day where politicians say one thing to get elected, and then they switch their tune once they get into office. Or they will twist the facts to fit their narrative. We see it in sports when coaches say they will come coach a team, but in some cases less than 24 hours later back out of the signed contract. There are actors, actresses, and singers who lecture the nation on morality, but then make movies and songs that are anything but moral. One that hits a little closer to home for me as a parent are those times when one of the kids asks, “hey dad can you (fill in the blank with a request)”, and my response is often “not right now, maybe later.” One thing I always remember my dad telling me as I was growing up was “son, your word must be your bond.” It was very important that if you said you were going to do something, that you did it. I would like to say that I always listened and heeded that advice, but then I would be talking about another sin. But as I get older, I’m starting to learn the value in that advice.
Jesus taught us the value of being honest and clear with our communication in Matthew 5 when He said, “But let your ‘yes’ mean ‘yes’, and ‘no’ mean ‘no.’ For whatever is more than these comes from the evil one.” Jesus was specifically talking about using phrases to try and convince people of the truthful of your statement. Statements like “I swear on a stack of Bibles”, or “I swear on my grandmother’s life.” Quick side note, I wonder if grandma is ok with you taking her life into your hands 🙂 The point is, what we say should mean something. People should know that if we say it, it is true, and that we mean it. For Christians, the truthfulness of our words or lack there of, can either further our witness to the world or it can destroy our witness to the world. If people can’t believe us about the little things in life, how can we ever expect them to believe us about the biggest and most important thing we are going to share with them, the Gospel?
So let us slow down, think through what we are going to say. We live in a sensationalist society that likes to make big promises, but seldom delivers. Let us be the opposite. Let’s be clear, honest, and compassionate with our communication. As the apostle Paul reminds us in Ephesians 4, “let us speak the truth in love.” People may not always like hearing the truth, but the truth is what is needed. If they know that we love them and we have a track record of being truthful, it will go a long way in helping them hear what we have to say.