“You bet I’ll help you with that!” “I’m coming, Lord willing and the crick don’t rise.”(Oklahoma influence) “I will help you, just call me when you need help and I’ll be there.””I wouldn’t miss it.” We have heard these promises and many more like them, haven’t we? Some of the people who said these words meant it and came and many do not come through. We will always remember the people who showed up when we needed them most.
We were taught as teachers to never promise what you cannot deliver. So we didn’t…most of the time. We should never promise our kids what we cannot or wont’ do. Our fallback answer to our kids and grandkids’ requests is the famous put off decision making answer, “We’ll see.” Maybe we need to rethink this answer, be strong and just say yes or no. Our actions and way of thinking becomes a cycle that continues through generations. Mm.
Many people do not promise anything, won’t commit until the last minute keeping all their options open for a better invite. That is sad, too. We are a very indecisive people it seems. Jesus knew that and inserts a small paragraph in his “sermon on the mount” to include what it means when we make empty promises. He also includes the heart motivations behind our words and provokes our thinking to be a bit more careful what we say and why we say it. We are not fooling our kids, grandkids or anyone else in this matter. Say yes or just say no, Jesus preaches. Can we do that? This is not how the world thinks or acts. Yikes.
Matthew 5, The Message
33-37 “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.
What do we learn?
–Don’t make empty promises.
–Pray for people at the moment they ask you.
–Just say yes or no. Our integrity is at stake.
Dear Lord, Sometimes, because we are people pleasers, we take too long to say no. We put people off by saying maybe or we will see which is a put down we learn. Help us to change our habits, be strong, and follow your teaching with the right Spirit and right heart. We repent of saying one thing and doing another or not doing anything at all. Help us not to manipulate but to be honest and gracious. Help us to say yes or no.
In Jesus Name, Amen