Monday, July 30, 2012

Thoughtful Words - Compromising Words

"Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’ But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne;  nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one." - Matthew 5:33-37

About a year ago, I realized I'd said I'd do a bunch of stuff that I never followed through on. Whether I promised God, my family or my neighbor, I recognized my lack of adequate planning, desire or ability to complete the tasks I'd set out to do. This bothered me. It brought feelings of inadequacy and depression upon my heart. I needed to make some changes.

God's word tells us not to make an oath, to say we're going to absolutely, for sure do something. We should never swear on our mother's grave (or by heaven, earth or Jerusalem) that we will see it through, that we will be there for someone, that we will get 'er done. Because things happen in life that are beyond our control. These things tend to get in the way of whatever our heart and mind was set on accomplishing. Then our word becomes nothing to those we've promised the world.

I know I'm not the only one who struggles with this compromise. Peter did the same. 

In Matthew 26, we find Jesus partaking of the Last Supper with His disciples. He's already mentioned that Judas would betray Him. Then, He tells the disciples, "All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written: ‘I will strike the Shepherd, And the sheep of the flock will be scattered (v. 31).'"

Peter immediately responds without thinking, "Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble(v. 33)."

To which Jesus replies, "Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times (v.34)."

Again, Peter doesn't weigh his words. He says, "Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You! (v. 35)"

A few years ago, God asked me to consider my faith. It's a word that has stayed in my heart for a long time. I believe it will remain with me until the day I die. It's a simple question, and a timely one, considering the age we're living in. He simply asked, "Will you stand for me?" Of course, my heart immediately jumped to say Yes! However, my wisdom said, "Lord, will I be able to stand for You? Will my faith endure? Will I find my strength in You when I face times of tribulation?" Because I want to say Yes. But I acknowledge I am only human. And if Peter, the rock upon whom Jesus built His church, denied Jesus three times at the time of His crucifixion, who am I to say I'll be able to stand? Uncompromising in my faith? Unwavering before the cross of my day?
"It is a snare for a man to devote rashly something as holy,And afterward to reconsider his vows." - Proverbs 20:25
When we promise to do something and then neglect to get it done, our words are compromised. Our intentions are compromised. Our integrity is compromised. Rather than being seen as someone dependable, people begin to say, "You can't count on her."

I don't want to be seen as undependable. I don't want to vow to do something and then neglect to do so. I'm a Christian, standing on my faith in God. If I promise to do something for someone and neglect to follow through, I not only compromise my own image, I compromise the image of God, in whose image I am created. I must remember Who I represent. I must learn to let my Yes be Yes and my No, No.

Which means I must change. I must set my boundaries in life, manage my time and learn to use the word No when I am already inundated with things to do. I must prioritize and stick with my priorities.

How about you? Are you making compromises? Or are you able to say Yes and mean it?

Photo Courtesy of Gary Scott


  1. Great post, Alycia. I'm teaching through Judges right now, and read the account of Jephthah this morning. Now THERE is a lesson on rash vows!

    Thanks for the reminder to think about our commitments, and then be faithful to the ones we make. Hope you're having a great summer!

    1. Susan,
      Thank you! I am having a great summer.

      Isn't it amazing how easily we can rashly vow to do something and then completely forget? Or neglect it? Still working on my commitments and learning to say no...


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