I’ve had the privilege of playing several different positions. Not on a baseball or football team, but on a wedding team. I’ve been the groom, I’ve been the officiating minister, I’ve been an usher, and I’ve been the best man. (Not all at the same wedding by the way.) And on more than one occasion, it’s been my job to make sure the paperwork gets done while everyone else is “receptioning.” The officiating minister has to sign the marriage license, the bride and groom have to sign it of course (the groom, if the groom is still conscious I mean), and two more important people – the witnesses. The powers that be want it on record that there were some people there who witnessed all these wonderful promises being made by the young lovers.
I’m Ron Hutchcraft, and I want to have A Word With You today about “The Strongest Words in the World.”
Now, when serious business is being transacted, they sometimes require that the signatures be witnessed by a notary public. This witness thing is important when important commitments are being made. Someone cares if you keep your promises. Actually, there is an extremely important person serving as a witness for every promise you make.
In our word for today from the Word of God, Jesus spells out how seriously He takes your commitments whether you do or not. In Matthew 5:37, Jesus simply says, “Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’ and your ‘No’ be ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the “evil one.” Whoa! That’s pretty sobering. Jesus says once you’ve said “Yes,” you’d better keep your commitment. It’s OK to say “No,” but it’s not OK to say “Yes” and have it end up being a “No.” In fact, Jesus seems to tell us here that unkept promises are the devil’s idea. Jesus intends for your “Yes” and your “No” to be some of the strongest words in the world.
And the Lord is standing there as a witness to your promises. In the Book of Malachi, some believers are at the altar. They’re weeping and wailing over why God hasn’t responded to them. There’s obviously a breakdown between them and God, but they can’t figure out what it is. Until God says: “You weep and wail because (the Lord) no longer pays attention to your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands.”
“You ask, ‘Why?’ It is because the Lord is acting as the witness between you and the wife of your youth, because you have broken faith with her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant.” No, you won’t find God’s signature as a witness on your marriage certificate. But He was there, and He was watching. And He says, “The problem between Me and you is because of the problem between you and her or you and him. You’re not doing what you promised to do. Until that relationship is right, our relationship won’t be right.”
Again, God cares deeply about whether or not you do what you’ve promised to do in your marriage, or in any area where you said a “Yes” or a “No.” You not only lose ground with God when you don’t keep your commitments, you lose ground with the people around you. They lose respect for you. They find it hard to take you seriously. They find it hard to trust you. And I’ll tell you, it hurts a lot to be an untrusted person.
In Ecclesiastes 5:4, the Lord talks about promises you make to Him, and the warning He applies to any promise you make. “God has no pleasure in fools,” it says, “fulfill your vow. It is better not to vow than to make a vow and not fulfill it. Do not let your mouth lead you into sin.”
Satan, who is the inventor of broken promises, loves it when you join his club. God, the One who never lies, really cares if you keep your promises. If you say you’ll do it, do it. Whatever it costs, keep your commitments, because it will cost you a whole lot more not to.