Rev. Molly Simpson is the campus pastor at The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection West.
I can manage to lie to my husband for a moment, in the little things, but really, it’s never a good idea. Uh, yeah, I took care of those errands today. What do you mean the deposit hasn’t shown up yet? Or, I swear I left on time, it was traffic, er, I had to get gas, uh, is your clock right?
Simply put, today’s GPS passage (Matthew 5:33-37) tells us that lying is a problem, and if we have to prove our truthfulness by swearing on something, then we have an even bigger problem. And… while I’m being honest, I’ll admit that today’s passage is one of those that I might read and just keep on going to the next stuff. You have to spend some time with this text to really discover what it is telling us. I had to read it a couple of times over and over again. I mean, how many people do you know that swear by Jerusalem? Or swear by their head? Maybe you are more familiar with the phrase “I swear on the Holy Bible” or “I swear on my life.”
This is where we get that phrase, “‘let your yes be yes.” Jesus is telling us to be honest, to be sincere, to be people of our word. We don’t need to doll up our promises with oaths we can’t keep.
The funny thing is, in a Christian understanding of marriage as a covenant promise, you get to wake up every day and practice again the discipline of letting your yes be yes, of keeping your promise, of being faithful to what you said you would do. It happens in the little exchanges of the everyday–being honest and following through on commitments. It also happens on the biggest scale–choosing again, through the easy and the hard, to stay true to your word.
One last thought… the GPS mentions the importance of being honest with God. That’s a really good place to start. Be honest about who you are, the things that are hard for you, the hopes that you have. I find that if I can receive acceptance and forgiveness and affirmation from God, I can be a much better spouse. Likewise, if I can take my hurt or anger or frustration to God in prayer, it’s likely to be a lot less venomous and a lot more constructive by the time I share it with my spouse.
Prayers of God’s great blessings to be with you and yours!