On the Level #6. “My word is my Bond!”

On the Level #6. “My word is my Bond!”

If you visit some countries, you might be surprised to find that “Yes” does not always mean “Yes.” Its not that the locals are lying, but that saying “No” to guests is considered the hight of rudeness. This is, of course, very puzzling for those who come from cultures where a straight answer is expected and appreciated. However, if you stay long enough, you will begin to understand that the people may not say the word “No,” but that they communicate it in other ways. One missionary said that he quickly learned that a “Yes” was as good as a “No,” but “Yes, Yes” meant “Yes!”

Jesus was not attempting to correct regional communication quirks when he said, “But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil” (Matthew 5:37). What he had in mind was the habit of man to tell lies in the name of God.

A person who is often frugal with the truth must develop verbal tricks to convince those around him that he is an honest man. How many times have you heard someone say, “I swear to God,” and then doubted them even more? The reason for the doubts is because you instinctively know that honest people do not have to swear by God’s name—telling the “Truth” is by its very nature done in God’s name.

Jesus condemned the hypocritical religious leaders of his day for their “oath” word games. When someone held them to their oaths, they wriggled out of them by saying things like, “‘Whoever swears by the temple, that is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple is obligated’ (Matthew 23:16).

James, eager to make sure that our word is our bond, repeats his brother when he says:

“But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath; but your yes is to be yes, and your no, no, so that you may not fall under judgment” (James 5:12).

John Staiger


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