October 16, 2021


Matthew 5:33-37

“All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”

—  Matthew 5:37

Oath-making isn’t common in many cultures today.

But have you ever taken a “sick day” from work when you were not sick? Have you ever told your friend that you forgot to do something you said you would do, although you really just didn’t feel like doing it? Have you ever told a coworker that you have finished a project—and then you hurry to finish it quickly, hoping they won’t notice?

We bend and stretch the truth all the time. Pastor Tim Mackie of the Bible Project calls this “airbrushing” the truth. Just as a photo studio might airbrush a person’s photo to remove blemishes or wrinkles, so we tend to “airbrush” the boring, inconvenient, or incriminating parts of our lives in order to make ourselves look better.

We do this out of our insecurity. We don’t trust that we will be liked and accepted the way we are—with all of our faults, inconsistencies, and boring ­stories.

But Jesus is clear in this passage. Our yes should be yes. And our no should be no. As God’s distinct people in the world—as salt and light—we know that our words are part of our witness.

Jesus is calling us to be people of integrity, knowing that we are secure in God’s love for us as his children.

Father, forgive me when I fail to honor my word, or when I stretch the truth to try to appear better than I am. Help me to rest in your love and to speak the truth in every situation. Amen.

About the author — A.J. Gretz

Anthony Joseph (A.J.) Gretz is a pastor in Grandville, Michigan. He has also served churches in Ohio and in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He and his wife, Anna, have three children.

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