My Internal Struggle

3 May

Matthew 5:37. I find this verse to be such a lofty standard in my life. Many people use it as an affirmation to tell the truth. I cannot dispute that reality, but I don’t think that is the primary thrust of the passage. The Bible so clearly tells us this in other locations, that a cryptic mention here does not seem to be of much benefit.

While many commentaries will mention that it is against oaths, saying something like unto the fact that there is no reason to consider that solemn oaths in a court of justice, or on other proper occasions, are wrong (provided they are taken with due reverence), but all oaths taken without necessity, or in common conversation, must be sinful. I think there is some truth to that, and I value it. The point I keep feeling, however, is that we need to let that which we say have merit.

Of course, this is not without conflict. Primarily, where does this intersect with grace? I mean, when my children are told something in ultimatum fashion and when it comes time to enforce it, what if I decide that giving them grace would be better? Does that mean that I didn’t actually mean what I originally said? Will they learn that what I say is not actually of absolute importance?

What about other people that answer to me? When I tell someone that they need to pay rent on a particular schedule and then, due to some reason that seems acceptable, they cannot follow through with that schedule, should I error on the side of grace or should I error on the side of being someone who sticks to their word? There seems to at least be a plausible interpretation that I need to let my word stand. It seems that Jephthah saw it that way (although I think most people translate that incorrectly).

What do we make of God supposedly changing His edict because of a conversation with Abraham? I cannot give a good answer, but I think we must at least make mention of the fact that God knew the outcome before it was over. To say that He changed His edict is not a slam-dunk, especially when you consider that He did not save the city even after the negotiation.

So, where does that leave me on letting my yes or no be maintained? I believe that the key is what defines our reputation. Is our character such that we are known for what we say being believable? I currently have someone challenging me to stay ever vigilant in my upholding of the truth. While I believe the motives of this individual to be less than pure, it is still nice to be challenged for personal betterment.

When we show grace do people truly see us as carrying forward the nature of Christ or does it just seem that we are lazy in our speech? This is the thing for which we must strive. We need to live in such a way where our grace is evident and yet our yes and no are always meaning what they should. And this striving will keep us busy throughout this side of eternity.


One Response to “My Internal Struggle”

  1. Jenni May 4, 2013 at 7:25 pm #

    1) I do not struggle with this verse like you do.2) Because I do not struggle with this verse like you do, if someone asked me if I thought the person challenging you to stay ever vigilant was a jerk, I could answer "yes" with no guilt. :-)3) "Jephthah the soldier was a man of mighty valor, and we would all do very well to follow his example. Let us pray."

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