"Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one."
Someone suggested that these are the top ten lies told in America:
10. Your table will be ready in a minute.
9. One size fits all.
8. This will hurt me more than it hurts you.
7. I'm sorry I'm late; I got stuck in traffic.
6. The check is in the mail.
5. This offer is limited to the first 50 callers.
4. It's not the money; it's the principle of the thing.
3. I just need five minutes of your time.
2. I'm starting my new diet tomorrow.
1. I'm from the IRS and I'm here to help you.
Maybe they are … maybe they aren't, but one thing is for sure: we all tell lies from time to time. Maybe it's not the Big Whopper kind of lie, but even the "little white ones" are a sin.
This Scripture follows an exhortation to "not swear at all" (v. 34) and goes beyond the issue of truthfulness to include making promises. If you are a parent, or a spouse, how often do you "promise" to do something but don't follow through? I've been guilty of that myself … far too many times over the years as husband and father. Now would be a good time for all of us to repent of that.
Sometimes it's hard to say "no." Most of us want to make other people happy, or perhaps we don't want to disappoint them. Either way, we end up saying "yes" when we should say "no," or vice versa. Even worse, we add "I promise" or "I swear to God." For the Christian, this verse means we are ALWAYS to act like we are under oath … so there should be no need to make a promise. When you say "yes" you better mean it. The same goes for when you need to say "no."
By the way: exaggeration is a lying, too, and it reeks of pride.
Kent Hughes said, "When people know that you do not lie, your testimony will have more effect than all the theology you could ram at them. What a difference a truthful life can make!"
Words are powerful. Truth is preeminent. Mix them properly and you will be a blessing to everyone around you.