Say what you mean. Let your "yes" be "yes" and your "no" be "no." Why do we even have to promise to do things. Shouldn't our word be enough to stand on it's own. Unfortunately, we have too often said something and not followed through. Often enough that those in our world expect a promise to ensure something will happen. But, why does that help? I've heard it said often enough, "You promised!!!" as if saying that will make it happen. And, often I haven't really promised. Often, I say, "We'll see" but to a child that seems to be a promise of whatever they want to do. When you break a promise you are called a liar, but if you say something will happen aren't you a liar if it doesn't whether it is connected to a promise or not. I think that's what Jesus was reminding us here. Don't swear, or make an oath, or promise because you should tell the truth all the time. A promise is not necessary.
The Message says this passage in a whole different way:
"And don't say anything you don't mean. This council 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."
Just say what you mean. Don't try to sound more pious by flowering up your words--especially if you're not going to follow through. Don't tell someone you'll pray for them and not do it. Do it. Better yet, do it right then. Say what you mean and follow through with what you say.
Easier said than done. When do you struggle with this?
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