In reading through some psalms today, I was reminded how boastful and deceitful people can be. There are those who say, “We will lie to our hearts’ content. Our lips are our own—who can stop us?” (Psalm 12:4) Some people have perfected lying as an art form, espousing false statements with a straight face. It happens both in politics and in business.
The other day, Harry Glickman died. He was the man who brought the NBA to Portland. As the news replayed some excerpts from his life, he said, “My word was my bond.” Nowadays, contracts need to be filled out in Triplicate and notarized, so that the principals can’t go back on their word. Harry’s stock of people is in short supply today.
“Lord, who may dwell in Your sanctuary? Who may live on Your holy hill? He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart and has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbor no wrong and casts no slur on his fellowman, who despises a vile man but honors those who fear the Lord, WHO KEEPS HIS OATH EVEN WHEN IT HURTS.” (Psalm 15:1–4) I’m not saying it’s always easy to keep our word. That’s why the Psalmist said it might “hurt.”
When I was a pastor, people would come into the church looking for financial help. I’d ask questions in my attempt to discern if their story was true. Some of them would respond, “Don’t you trust me?” I’d say, “No. I don’t know you, whether I can trust your words or not.” If a person says something like, “I swear on my mother’s grave that I’m telling the truth,” they probably aren’t.
Jesus wants His followers to be trustworthy people, who “say what they mean, and mean what they say.” He said, “Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” (Matthew 5:37) Words, followed by actions, are the way we build trust. Do I have the reputation that, like Harry, people can trust my word. How about at work? What about at home? Can my spouse and children count on my promises? In a family, circumstances change and we might not be able to fulfill our promise, but if it’s a pattern that people can’t count on us, we need to change.
I’m so glad God has written down His promises in black and white, so that they would be clear for all to read. One such promise is, “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:9, 13) Another promise is, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) Taking God at His word is the path to solid assurance about your eternity.