MANY ORGANISATIONS spruik “People are our most important asset,” or “Safety is our number one value,” or “We back every commitment we make with a ‘money-back guarantee’.” Big promises deliver little but a sense of disappointment.
False promises come from great (or, perhaps, ill-informed) vision, but there’s no motivating intrinsic mission to achieve it.
Likewise, we make our commitments—in many cases, like these organisations, they become empty promises.
Then the devil sniggers; we get reproached. Guilt and shame overcomes us.
There is a better way.
“In making your speech sound more religious, it becomes less true. Just say ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ When you manipulate words to get your own way, you go wrong.” ~Matthew 5:36-37 (Msg).
Jesus talks about oaths in a way we understand.
Why don’t we make more oaths only to ourselves, and then live up to them, because they’ve become habits and a part of the way we live, before we announce them?
Better still, not to announce them at all, for cycles recur every few years and maintaining our oaths is problematic. Many commitments need to be maintained—to be recommitted.
Getting real is about honouring the truth, through the knowledge of God’s Presence with us. For, why would we lie when we know that the Lord hears everything? Yes, getting real is about understanding that the truth, as far as we communicate, sits on a knife’s edge.
Learning to Speak Less
This will be more of a challenge for extroverts than introverts, but it’s a challenge for every single one of us. No one is immune.
If we are in this life to win the real salvation experience—to know God, and to abide in the Spirit—we ought to prayerfully rein in our raucous promises, overtures of good, achievements, and anything we boast about.
Where, really, is our boast coming from? It is not from the Lord.
Learning to speak less is taking lessons in humility. It’s working out our salvation in fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12). It’s about understanding that each action has potential ramifications—they echo into eternity. (Not that God expects us to be perfect!)
The Apostle Paul talks a lot about boasting in Second Corinthians. Paul commends those who would boast to boast only in the Lord (2 Corinthians 10:17).
We need to boast, promise, exaggerate, and dodge the truth less.
There is a vital truth in the fact of speaking less. It means we think more. We weigh our words, the way we say them, and foreseeable consequences. If we are in life to win it—the abundance in salvation—we will commit to this thing.
In the Lord, we will gain control, as far as we mindfully can, over our tongues. And, we will also receive forgiveness for when we get it wrong.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.