Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Yes, or no? Which is it?

“Extra, extra, read all about it!” shouts the newspaper vendor from a corner newsstand in downtown Manhattan. As the world shuffles-bye at break neck speed, today’s headlines are fast-becoming tomorrow’s history lessons. Topics that don the cover of semi news worthy outlets like the New York Times, will typically not survive tomorrow’s oil spill or political fraud in Washington, D.C. However, there was something remarkable that took place nearly two-thousand years ago; a ‘news flash’ was delivered to a land of thousands of people made-up of: fisherman, tax collectors, teachers, and soldiers; just to name a few. It was an event that some scholars say lasted for several days, not mere hours. The event was The Sermon on the Mount, and it was preached not by a typical leader of that day. Instead, it was delivered by a man from Galilee; the son of a carpenter who, to everyone’s amazement, taught a new way to live; a way that nobody had yet conceived.

While The Sermon on the Mount covers many topics of righteous living, as defined by Jesus of Nazareth, there are two I would like to examine here: 1) vows, as taught in Matt. 5:33-37, and 2) Fruit in ones life, as taught in Matt. 7:15-20. Let’s examine vows here:

Throughout Matthew 5:33-37, a common theme – I initially see – is keeping your oath. As Jesus says, “Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one” (Matt. 5:37, NIV). This statement is very clear cut and does not warrant the need of theologians or biblical scholars to interpret; perhaps this is why it speaks to me! That being said, I can glean from those words, this: when I say I’m going to do something, I need to, and thus should, do it. Our society today covets swearing ‘on somebody’s grave’ or ‘to God’, that we saw this or that; that we really were here or there. Jesus’ words are simply implying that if we are men/women of integrity and sound speech, there should be no reason to promise and/or swear on anything, for we should simply never go back on our word.

Think how our world would look if politicians kept their ‘Yes’ promises, and had the gull to say, “Honestly, that is just not doable sir, or madam.” Talking points and political mantra – combined with promiscuous affairs and deceitful, lewd acts – have forever given politicians a bad name. Even members of the clergy have fallen prey to the evils of the love of money, greed, and sex; casting a shadow on the good that spreads distrust in the hearts of both parishioners and the lost, all over the world.

On my next posting, which may be in a few days, I want to examine Matthew 7:17 a bit. But for the sake of time, considering the thousands of busy people reading this, we’ll conclude.  God bless.

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