The Weekly Epistle 1/10/24

Hi Church Family,

“This time I mean it.” Have you ever said that to your kids? I have. Does that suggest that other times, I don’t mean what I say? The other times, I didn’t mean it, but this time I really mean it. Adding, “I mean it” is an attempt to give strength to what we are saying to make it more believable. My wife would gently remind me that those are unnecessary words. 

Say what you mean and mean what you say. Isn’t that what Jesus is getting at when he says, “Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one” (Matthew 5:37). The Evil One? Do I really want to be lumped in with Satan, the Father of Lies? 

Do you find yourself using a multitude of words to get someone to believe you? Do you feel you need to add, “But I mean it this time,” or some other words to convince someone of your truthfulness? 

Here is the issue really. We are often more interested in being believed than we are in being truthful. Being believed is nothing! Being a truthful person is everything! 

Can others trust what you say? When you say, “Yes” to your child, can he or she count on what you’ve said? Is your word good enough? When you say you will do something, do you follow through? Do you find yourself under the pressure of the moment agreeing to something that you won’t be able to carry out? What promise have you made that you have not kept? Have you said you will do something to only renege on it later because it is inconvenient to go through with it? 

I love the words of the Psalmist in Psalm 15:4. Psalm 15:4 in speaking of a person of integrity it says that a blameless person is one who “keeps his oath even when it hurts.” 

To what extent would you go to keep your promise; to be a person of your word; to show that you value honesty! We keep our word even when it hurts. Does that describe you? Is that true of me? 

Let’s shoot for integrity in our speech. That may mean we learn to slow down before we rattle off a promise. We may need to practice more often the discipline of silence. Be willing to correct yourself when that lie is being spoken through exaggeration- “you always” or “you never” kind of statements. Stop mid-sentence if you must! You know what? I think people will find it refreshing. 

Correct it when you find that you just intentionally gave someone an impression of you that is false. Correct it when you embellished that story, spoke that half-truth, omitted certain information in order to deceive. Perhaps you remained silent when gossip was spoken giving the impression you agree. Living under the rule of Jesus means we put a high premium on truth for our God is a God of truth. 

Let your Yes be Yes, and your No be No- mean what you say and say what you mean. 

Blessings, Pastor Brian