This week, Jesus addresses integrity and truthfulness of words and living. He goes after the concept of saying what you mean and meaning what you say. In the Ancient Near East, the testimony of witnesses meant everything. There wasn’t forensic science or lie detectors – so it was very important that people spoke truth. A person’s ‘word’ and character was foundational to good and healthy relationships. It was a foundation of society and good community.
Once again, Jesus words are spot on for us and our culture today. Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “The very existence of oaths is a proof that there are such things as lies.” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship, p. 136) Truth is easily avoided, half truths are easily spoken, and lies have become a way of life. We are in desperate need of truth telling and truth living today.
Jesus makes a strong plea for being truthful – for living truthfully. “Do not make oaths at all! Let your ‘yes’ be ‘yes’, and your ‘no’ be ‘no.'” Instead, be truthful always!
Being truthful begins with being truthful about ourselves before God. It continues with finding truth in the source of truth, God. And being filled with the source of truth.
Acts 17:28 says, “In Him we live and move and have our being.” Sounds like a key to understanding a life of truth and walking in it. Only in the life and animation of the Holy Spirit, will we find the source, strength, and motivation to be truthful people with humility, integrity and Godly character.
This Sunday, Sydney Yapoujian will be bringing the message from Matthew 5:33-37. I will be in Moab with over 45 men at the Annual Moab Men’s Retreat. See you soon!
One thought on “Stop Kidding Around!”
I did not realize how core Testimony of Witnesses was in the Ancient Near East.
It continues to this day – though we do not realize it – whether in a court of law – or in Amazon reviews – or in AA meetings. A testimonial awakens the audience that truth is about to be spoken, that fear is dispersed by the breath and courage of truth telling. This can only occur when we stop our isolation and dare to in live in community and testify to one another and to God our sins, failings and fears. Courage derived from faith. Oh Lord Grant me that courage each and every day.
Love your imagery of living in the animation of the Holy Spirit. Always dynamic never static.