May 23, 2023

Let Your ‘Yes’ Be ‘Yes’

Matthew 5:33-37

Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices. . . .

—  Colossians 3:9

Each of the students took their turn. They raised their right hand and solemnly swore to carry out their duties with honesty and integrity. Another student association executive team was in place and set to serve the student body for another year.

But the question may be asked, “Was this swearing-in ceremony wrong?” Was it, and is every other oath of office, a violation of Jesus’ teaching? No. The point Jesus makes is that we are to be people who keep our word. One of the most important examples of being a Christian witness is the matter of keeping promises.

As a chaplain, I speak to ­dozens of students, faculty, and staff each day. Often I am asked or invited to do things. The easy part is to say “Yes.” Remembering what I promised and then following up on it is the hard part! Unfortunately, I still have cringeworthy moments when someone begins a sentence with “Remember when you said you would . . .”

Regardless of our occupation and regardless of whom we are speaking to, being true to our word is a mark of faithfulness. Thankfully, our God is always faithful to his promises, and with the help of the Holy Spirit we too may grow in being faithful to the promises and commitments we make.

Holy God, help us truly to be people of our word. Help us to do what we promise so that our “yes” is “yes” and our “no” is “no.” In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the author — George Koopmans

George Koopmans has served as an ecumenical chaplain at Medicine Hat College in Medicine Hat, Alberta, since November 2021. Prior to entering into chaplaincy, George served as a pastor to two congregations—one in Minnesota (Luverne), and the other in Medicine Hat. George and his wife, Emily, have four adult daughters and three grandchildren. Hiking, biking, and birdwatching are his favorite hobbies.

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