James 5:12 (ESV) But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.
Matthew 5:33-37 (ESV) Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ 34 But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.
Acts 18:18 (ESV) After this, Paul stayed many days longer and then took leave of the brothers and set sail for Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila. At Cenchreae he had cut his hair, for he was under a vow.
How important is it to keep your word? If you tell someone you will do something is it particularly important that you do what you said?
I was raised in a generation of people who were taught the importance of keeping your word. If you told someone you were going to do something, you just flat out did it. You didn’t hem and haw. You didn’t make excuses. You just did it. If something occurred that prevented you from keeping your word (what we called “Being Providentially Hindered”) we called or contacted the person we gave our word to and explained that we could not do as promised. In such a case both parties understood, and all was forgiven. The word was not broken.
This actually happened to me recently. A good Christian friend and I go walking several times a week, something we started because we both need more exercise. After we finished our last walk my friend had told me “I’ll see you at Church Wednesday night”. Wednesday afternoon he calls me. He’s started his job, and it has worn him out. His wife is also under the weather. He says: “Brother, I’m exhausted. I’ve got to get some sleep. I hate going back on my word, but I’m not going to be able to make it tonight”. My response? “I understand brother. Come if you can, but if you can’t that’s ok”. Most of America today would mock this exchange, but not those who were raised to respect integrity. Integrity is important.
Keeping your word is important. When you give your word but fail to follow through, and fail to contact those who have given your word to, then you break trust.
I do not trust a liar, nor any person who gives their word then repeatedly breaks it. And neither does God.
When our Lord walked the earth He was often surrounded by people who were called “Pharisees and Sadducees”. Not all of these people were bad. Some were trustworthy, like Nicodemus who helped bury the crucified Savior (John 19:39). But many of them were unfaithful to their word. Jesus called them “hypocrites” or “two faced people”. These so called religious people were supposed to be committed to the honor of God. Yet they were deceitful, untrustworthy, two faced.
They did not keep their word to God.
Christ follower, when you came to God it was with the promise that you would love Him and love others. It was with the promise that you would follow Jesus. Jesus told those who came to Him to “count the cost”. He said:
Luke 14:26-33 If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.
To be saved by Christ means to give your word to Him, to surrender to Him. Your word matters. When you come to Christ you commit all that is you to all that is He, and He promises to never leave you nor forsake you. He promises eternal life. He promises undying love. He promises to be with you.
Are you with Him?
Not too long ago I endorsed a man to pastor a local Church not far from ours. He was called to the Church based on my recommendation. This man made a commitment to God and to the Church- and to me! After he was dismissed from his posting I found out from His Church members that he never visited, never ministered to those in need. When he went to the hospital to see a member he had little care for the sick. He could preach, but he would not minister. He broke his word to both God and his Church, and hurt others in the process.
This is not an isolated incident. I know of many “leaders” in the Church – pastors, deacons, elders, teachers – who have given their word but are (as we used to say in the military) A.W.O.L. (Absent Without Leave). There are a lot of professing Christians who do not keep their word. I meet them in the market. “Sorry I missed Church last Sunday, but I’ll see you this Sunday”. Sunday rolls around and they are not even in my dreams. People join the Church, making a commitment to the fellowship. I know one couple who joined but never returned. When I saw them at the market they tried hiding from me. Two weeks later they’re joining another Church.
Their word is untrustworthy.
They get angry, deflecting their sin on others if confronted.
But God knows what you did.
Not too long ago a well known politician stood in front of the Republican National Convention. Earlier in the year he promised in the debates that whoever won the Convention would be the person he endorsed. He said this live and on recorded television. From UsPresidentialElectionNews.com …
“On March 12, three days before the Florida primary, Cruz said he would support the nominee. . . “I committed at the outset, I will support the Republican nominee, whoever it is.” Cruz told reporters at a suburban St. Louis high school. A day later, he made a similar comment to MSNBC’s Chuck Todd:
Todd: “You’ve said some tough things on Trump. Why are you comfortable supporting him as the nominee if he ends up the nominee.”
Cruz: “Well, listen, I pledged at the outset I will support the Republican nominee, whoever it is … when I give my word for something, I follow through and do what I said.”
There were caveats there, no “but ifs”. It was a straight out promise, a giving of his word. When the Convention came and he had lost he was given an opportunity to speak. He refused to endorse the candidate that won. When asked later his remarks – again recorded on national television – he stated – and I quote: “I am not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my father”.
But what of your word?
Frankly, Trump says things he shouldn’t say. I get that. Sometimes he’s like a six year old kid on pop rocks. There’s been a lot of mud slinging this election year, entirely too much. But if you’re in a public office (or running for one) you will be attacked, and so will your family. People have attacked my wife, one of the sweetest people I know. But those who attacked her and mocked her are still people. Loving your neighbor means doing good to those who do bad to you. We are to love others for Christ’s sake. We are to love God by keeping our word.
We are in quite a quandary this election year and, frankly, I like none of the candidates. When push comes to shove I will vote for the candidate that is least pro-abortion and most pro-family. And no, I do not buy into the weird sexual revolution that is going on right now in America. Jesus said:
Matthew 19:4-6 … Have you not read that He Who made them in the first place made them man and woman? 5 It says, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and his mother and will live with his wife. The two will become one.’ 6 So they are no longer two but one. Let no man divide what God has put together.”
Enough said. Having said that, I will not tell you who to vote for. My vote is between my God and myself. But I am frightened, and I think we who are Christ followers should be praying daily for our country, for our Churches, and for our communities. A failure to keep your word in a small area is to be considered untrustworthy in a larger thing.
In our day many Politicians are not keeping their words.
In our day many Pastors are not keeping their words.
In our day many Church leaders are not keeping their words.
In our day these breaches are teaching the people
that they do not need to keep their word.
And this is destroying America.
From a President who ran on family values and traditional marriage, but who “changed his mind” once he got into office to the Pulpetteer who will not love God and love his neighbor, our nation is rotting from within. Are you keeping your word? Are you keeping your word in your marriage, to love, honor, and cherish one another? Are you keeping your word at work, at home, at Church? Does your word matter? The Bible says that those who are excluded from Heaven are …. now read this carefully …
Revelation 22:15 Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
It does matter. It matters in the marketplace, in the media, in the marriage, every moment of where ever you are. If your word is no good, you are not good. Think about it. Think about it.
May God the Holy Spirit touch your hearts and guide us into all TRUTH.