You’ve probably heard the phrase, “my word is my bond”. It is a strong phrase and one that actually reflects a biblical principle. I’ve seen movies and TV shows where people make and break promises as if their word doesn’t really matter. But believers shouldn’t be that way. We should be men and women and boys and girls of our word. We should never make a promise that we can’t keep. Better yet, we should do what James teaches us to do, and not swear at all. In chapter 5, verse 12 it says:
"Above all, my brothers, do not swear - not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your 'Yes' be yes, and your 'No,' no, or you will be condemned."
I try to make it to Haiti about once every year or so. And one thing I’ve learned about their culture is that you should never make promises that you will not keep. You shouldn’t say that you’ll “swing by someone’s house tomorrow” if you won’t. In Haiti, your word is your bond. And if you break your word, even on something as simple as saying you’ll drop by someone’s house, you are considered liar and will have broken trust. But even if you don’t live in Haiti, I challenge you to do what you say, and say what you mean, even if it may hurt someone’s feelings. Honesty is the best policy. And as we learn in James, it is also a biblical virtue.
The bible teaches us that words are very important. They can be used to build someone up and they can be used to tear someone down. The bible says that we will even be judged by what we’ve said on earth when we ultimately appear before the judgment seat of Christ. Words matter. We can also lie with our words. If we promise, or swear, to do something and don’t follow through, that can be considered a major offense. In another place in the bible, we’re told that if we swear to God and don't keep our promise to him, we will not escape judgment. People have died in the bible because of misguided promises. So, I challenge you to honor your word. Get in the practice of never promising anything, but let your “Yes” be yes, and your “No”, no, as the bible says.