Letting Our “Yes” Be Yes

Hardly a month goes by when we do not hear of another minister or Christian leader who has fallen publicly. Usually, it turns out that the leader led a double life for years before being caught. With each public fall, commentators scramble to provide a postmortem and to suggest a solution. But the fundamental issue is clear: integrity is in short supply.

Yet, Christians most of all should know the value of integrity. Words must be matched by actions. The public persona must match the private. The Apostle James goes so far as to write this: “But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your ‘yes’ be yes and your ‘no’ be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation” (James 5:12).

Proverbs tells us that this kind of integrity is far more valuable than money: “Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than he who is crooked in speech and is a fool” (19:1). And integrity—the match between words and actions—brings security. The man living a double life can never feel secure; nor can anyone close to him. In contrast, there is no need for fear of exposure when your words and actions match. Proverbs 10:9 says, “Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.”


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