Saturday, June 17, 2017
“Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ mean ‘No.’ Anything more is from the Evil One.” Matthew 5:37
This is an interesting line. At first it seems a bit extreme to say that “Anything else is from the Evil One.” But of course since these are the words of Jesus, they are words of perfect truth. So what does Jesus mean?
This line comes to us from Jesus within the context of Him teaching us about the morality of taking an oath. The lesson is essentially a presentation of the basic principle of “truthfulness” found in the Eighth Commandment. Jesus is telling us to be honest, to say what we mean and mean what we say.
One reason Jesus brings this up, within the context of His teaching about taking oaths, is that there should be no need for a solemn oath regarding our ordinary daily conversations. Sure, there are some oaths that take on solemnity such as Marriage vows or vows and promises solemnly taken by priests and religious. In fact, in every Sacrament there is some form of solemn promise taken. However, the nature of these promises is more of a public expression of faith than a way of keeping people accountable.
The truth is that the Eighth Commandment, which calls us to be people of honesty and integrity, should suffice in all daily activity. We do not need to “swear to God” about this or that. We should not feel a need to convince another that we are telling the truth in one situation or another. Rather, if we are people of honesty and integrity, then our word will suffice and what we say will be true simply because we say it.
Reflect, today, upon how honest you are in all areas of life. Have you built a habit of truthfulness in both big and small matters of life? Do people recognize this quality in you? Speaking the truth and being a person of the truth are ways of proclaiming the Gospel with our actions. Commit yourself to honesty today and the Lord will do great things through your spoken word.
Lord, help me to be a person of honesty and integrity. For the times that I have twisted the truth, deceived in subtle ways, and outright lied, I am sorry. Help my “Yes” to always be in accord with Your most holy will and help me to always turn from the ways of error. Jesus, I trust in You.