Friday, July 9, 2010

When NOT To Honor Our Word

I have always appreciated and tried to adhere to this simple and straightforward verse from Matthew 5 verse 37:

Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

Even before I was a christian, my biggest peeve was when others would not do what they said they were going to do.  All these years later, I am still irked by the thoughtless behavior of others in this regard.  The only difference is that now, the Lord speaks forgiveness into my heart, where before, I would often get angry and reap bitterness in my spirit as a result.

As I've grown in my faith, I've come to a deeper understanding as to why it is so important to be one who honors their word.  I want to be considered someone who is reliable, and be able to instill the importance of this into my children.  Even if I've made plans with someone and something "better" comes along..or if I've promised to give someone a call and things are busier than I'd like them to be.  We are to be imitators of Christ, and there was never a more rock solid, stick to your word kinda guy in all of history.   

This leads me to my main point:  Occasionally, it may be necessary to break your word with someone.  In cases beyond our control, such as sickness or emergencies, this is completely understandable and no apologies are necessary.  However, what if we commit to something unbiblical, physically dangerous, or even put our children's well being at risk with our faulty judgement?  Perhaps we didn't think about all the possible scenarios before speaking out, or we may have found out some information after the fact that troubles us and causes us to regret the decision we have made.  I will admit that I am guilty just as much as the next person here.  I recently was involved in an unpleasant situation which led me to the following verse. I know that if I would have remembered to let this verse reign in my heart before allowing my mind and mouth to speak out, I could have spared myself a lot of uncomfortable moments, stress, and relationship strain as well.

My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.  James 1:19-20

Unfortunately, we don't always live out the word the way we know we should.  There are often consequences for our actions as a result.  We need not follow through with plans and commitments we've spoken in error, those which could cause us to sin or put the lives of those we love in jeopardy.  However, we should apologize for not making the right decision to start with, which caused us to have to break our word.  Being slow to speak has a lot to do with thinking things through before offering a response.  And words spoken in anger can cause irrefutable damage as well.  

I know that I have a few apologies that need to be made due to some recent poor decisions on my part.  I hope that the people that I have hurt will be able to find it in their hearts to forgive me.  Thankfully, I know that regardless of what they say, I am forgiven by my father in heaven, and he redeems me in spite of my imperfections.  That's a thought I won't hesitate in speaking out!!