“CROSS MY HEART and hope to die; stick a needle in my eye.” Do you remember that? It’s about like the deal being made with Iran. Or, do you remember King’s X? That’s when you have your fingers crossed. You really didn’t mean it! What to do when someone else is a stand-in for you, like the President is a stand-in for American citizens? Well, for one thing, you can say, “He’s not speaking for me,” before the deal is made. Thanks to some congressmen/women who are trying to keep some honor in the name of America.
We have been dealing with a big phone company for at least six months trying to get them to honor their guarantee and replace a sorry phone. I finally demanded an address so I could put something in writing. I was told that there was no address for written complaints, however, I could speak to someone else. We did; we got a new phone next day, delivered by Fed Ex. Those nice employees we had been talking to via phone were “stand-ins” for their company; I’m sure just following procedure. Being rather cynical, I see that sometimes one’s oral word doesn’t mean as much as one’s written word!
But Matthew 5:37 is not talking about politics or companies. It’s talking about me. “Simply let your ’yes’ be ’yes’ and your ’no’ be ’no’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” For instance, people used to swear on a Bible. Then some went beyond that to “swearing on a stack of Bibles”, or “swearing on my mother’s grave.” When your word is conditional on anything, you can find compromises that can be made, or you can find extenuating circumstances that can get you by. One of the characteristics in Psalm 15 for a person who dwells in the Lord’s sanctuary, is that the person keeps his word even when he “swears to his own hurt.” That’s not to say that there are never “extenuating circumstances” but even then it is imperative that we are sometimes seen as a “stand-in” for God and we should behave in accordance with giving honor in the name of the Lord and, as much as possible, let our ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and our ‘no’ be ‘no’.