A Call to Truthfulness
Matthew 5:37In the time of Jesus, people made vows to offer assurance that they would do as they had said. But they didn't "swear to God" for fear that if they failed to perform as promised, then God's name would be besmirched. So swearing by something became a kind of game, offering reassurance but also an "out" so people could break their word.
Jesus cut through the confusion by calling his disciples to speak the truth clearly and simply. They were to do what they had said, rather than making excuses or conniving ways to defend their dishonesty. The followers of Jesus were to speak and to live the truth.
Two millennia later, Jesus' words challenge us to avoid the verbal games of our spin-saturated culture. We can be tempted to break our promises by finding verbal loopholes through which to wiggle. Or we twist our words so as to misrepresent the truth without actually telling blunt lies. Such ruses are not the way of Jesus. He calls us to speak plainly, simply, and truthfully.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: When have you been tempted to twist the truth for your own benefit? What did you do? What helps you to be more truthful, both in your words and in your actions?PRAYER: God of Truth, even as you are truthful in all you do, so you call me to imitate you. I'm to speak the truth and to live in your grace; sometimes I do this, even when it's hard. But then there are other times when I bend or break the truth for my own advantage. I can "spin" with the best of them.
Yet my heart senses the error of my ways, even if my mind tries to rationalize my behavior. Thus I turn to you in confession, laying my inconsistencies and falsehoods before you. Forgive me, Lord, by your grace.
Help me to be a person of truth, one who speaks honestly and lives accordingly. Help me especially in places where I'm tempted to twist the truth: in the office, at home, or when I'm out with my friends. May the truthfulness of my life reflect your own truthfulness, dear Lord. Amen.
Note: Mark has written extensively about truthful speaking and living in his book, Dare to Be True: Living in the Freedom of Complete Honesty. You can order this book through Mark's website.