DAY 19 – Make It Plain. Add Nothing To It. | 21-Day Devotional on Jesus’ Beatitudes and Sermon on the Mount

Sunday, February 19, 2023 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

  Make It Plain. Add Nothing To It.   

[Text of the same lesson from the audio]

Matthew 5:33-37, You have heard that it was said by the people of the old days: You shall not take an oath falsely, but you shall pay your oath in full to the Lord. But I say to you: Do not swear at all, neither by heaven, for it is the throne of God, nor by the earth, for it is the footstool of his feet, nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King, nor by your head, for you cannot make one hair black or white. When you say, Yes, let it be yes; and when you say, No, let it be no. Anything which goes beyond that has its source in evil.

We live in a world where people have used the phrase "alternative facts” or attempt to justify their actions with a phrase like, “Well, the depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is.” A more recent response on the part of George Santos now famously lying about being a Jew: “I didn’t say I was Jewish, I said I was Jew-ish.” We live in a world where you can go into an electronics store and ask for something, only to be told, "Yes we have it…what does it look like?” Rather than say, "I don't know,” many would rather create an illusion of knowledge.

The other side of that coin is when people discover that someone was faking knowledge, all credibility is lost. When this happens at an institutional level, institutions become untrusted.

As people, we have surprising little actual power. We can mix things together, like the ingredients for a cake, but we don’t actually invent things like wheat to make flour or chickens that provide eggs.

It is far better to “under-promise and over-deliver” than “over-promise and under-deliver.” Swearing to (or committing to) actions that require powers we do not possess is foolish, not to mention doomed to fail. Jesus taught His disciples and others listening in to “make it plain.” Let “yes” be yes and “no” be no.

I am amused by people who offer me something to which I may say “No, thank you,” followed by the response, “Are your sure?” Sometimes my response is, “I already answered the question.” We live in a world where people are conditioned not to accept your answer because are not clear with our answers.

There is also this worthless response to an invitation, to which some people respond, “I will try” or my favorite, “I might try.” Just say, “no,” if that is your intention.

It is interesting that in His Sermon on the Mount Jesus dealt with these matters which seem quite trivial. But the reality is that small things in life, added together, become the sum total of our lives.

So, make it plain and add nothing to it.


What vague and evasive behaviors or habits do you need to stop and replace with brief, honest responses?



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