The Misfortune of Talking Too Much when Making Commitments to Others

Matthew 5: 34-37 (NRSV) [34] But I say to you, Do not swear at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, [35] or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. [36] And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. [37] Let your word be 'Yes, Yes' or 'No, No'; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

This passage of scripture should have a subtitle called "The Misfortune of Talking Too Much when Making Commitments to Others."

Words have power. They can educate, inform, uplift, or get us into trouble. Like that one time when you swore to your neighbor that you would water their beloved plants for a week, when you already had a million other commitments, and then it slipped your mind during the busiest week of your year, and the plants died, and you were desperately trying to figure out how to replace their favorite fern before your neighbor returned from their vacation... Remember that commitment?

Commitments are important. Being a person who keeps their word is important. It is a defining character trait to be a person whose intention matches their actions, and yet time and time again I find myself trapped in commitments I should have never made, and am struggling to keep.

Rather than just saying "Yes", when I can do something, and "No", when I cannot, I am prone to making emotional commitments, which leads to feelings of guilt, and then frustration, as I try to think of ways to get out of the very commitments I should have never made in the first place.

In the future, I will take this lesson from the Bible, and adhere to less is more. "Yes" or "No" to stay out of trouble and walking in His will.