Keep It Simple, “Yes” or “No” – Matthew 5:37

AMH Series // His Word is Written Across My Heart

“I can probably do that.”

“Maybe … I’ll play it by ear”

“That’s a possibility”

“There’s a chance I could”

“I’m not sure, I’d like to, but …”

How often do you find yourself painting some extra space in your responses to give yourself some room to change your mind.  I always thought this was a smart move. Not liking to let people down, I didn’t have to fully commit to something and potentially not come through.  Maybe you’ve guessed where I’m going with this, but recently I’ve learned those “wiggle-room” responses might not be so great after all. 

Keeping It Simple

You’ve probably heard of the KISS method, Keep It Simple, Stupid.  When I think of this clever little phrase, I’m reminded of a Bible verse, found in the book of Matthew.

“All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” (Matthew 5:37 NIV)

This verse struck me a couple weeks ago when I was talking to my dad.  We were having a conversation about some projects I had to finish, and he was asking if I could have them done by the weekend.  I gave one of my usual non-committal responses, and he called me out on it.  He told me I either had to say “yes” or “no.” I honestly didn’t have a good reason why I couldn’t get it done, so I said, “yes.”  And left it at that.

Because I gave a definite answer to finish the project, I invested more time to work on it that weekend.  I’d like to say it was completed, and I succeeded in my quest. Embarrassingly enough, that wasn’t the case. I was missing one key component and didn’t complete the project until Monday.  When I did get it done though, my parents cheered me on, and it felt good to put it behind me.

What I realized through this process was the only one actually hurt in my unwillingness to commit was myself.  

yes or no

Our Commitments Say Something about Us

Let’s look at this from a different angle.  The choices and commitments we make are not just based on the beliefs we have, but also the foundations we build them on.  Like in the above example, my “maybe’s” foundation was built on the fear of letting people down and/or not wanting to commit my time.  When challenged, the foundation crumbled.

Let’s apply this to a different situation.  Kissing. When are you willing to kiss someone you are romantically interested in (beyond just a peck)?  I’ve had friends that wanted to wait until they reached the alter (or just before to practice). And on the other extreme, I’ve had friends that wanted to make sure they were marrying a good kisser before putting a ring on it.

Personally, I fall in the camp of individuals that see the physical side of relationships as a slide.  As soon as you take off it’s very hard to backtrack. The further you go, the faster things happen. Also, without a real commitment to the man in the relationship, I could be making out with some other woman’s future husband.  

One of the verses we bring up during our retreats is Proverbs 31:12, which says that a wife of noble character brings her husband good, not harm, ALL the days of her life.  Since I cannot be married to my future husband ALL the days of my life, that verse applies to the choices and commitments that I make every day.

To protect both myself, and the other individual in a romantic relationship, my plan is to wait until I become engaged and there is a mutual commitment moving forward toward marriage.  The above proverb is the foundation this decision sits on. 

Our Foundation Strengthens Our Commitments

To pull this back around, no matter which kissing camp you are in, you have made a decision based on the foundational beliefs that you hold.  Foundations are crucial because they help plant our “Yes” or “No” on something firm.  In Matthew 7 the importance of good foundations is expressed:

“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock.  But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand.  When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.” (Matthew 7:24-27 NLT)

If your foundation is built on God’s rock solid teachings, you will stand strong when someone questions your  “yes” or “no” convictions.  And you will realize the value of a simple “yes” or “no” commitment.  But if you have fleeting thoughts and theories based on things you’ve heard and how others have told you to act, when your choices are questioned you will find that you don’t have a foundation to stand on. What did that KISS acronym stand for?  Your simple yes or no on a conviction or commitment, will turn into a “maybe this time it’s ok,” “once couldn’t hurt,” and “how bad can it really be?”, if your foundation isn’t strong.

Our lives are built upon the choices that we make every day.  It’s important to realize the impact of those decisions, and the foundation we build them on.  If those foundations are built upon the rock of Jesus, then, when situations pop up, you will have no reason to worry.  You can easily answer “yes” or “no.”

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