James 5:12 is a very interesting passage. The famous let your yes be yes and your no be no. Everything else is evil. So this includes, but is not limited to; Maybe, possibly, perchance, perhaps, probably, likely, not impossibly, peradventure...or any other word that adds a hint of grey to your sentences...
Why such a big deal on the grey words? You might say that I'm making a mountain out of a mole hill. However, if I may, explain further with an example that has probably happened to each of us at some point or another in our lives. (I love examples as did Jesus as I'm told) You are with your friend who you haven't seen in forever...he/she is a really popular somebody that you rarely get to see. You ask them to lunch. They respond, "I think I can make that" or "Maybe, umm, let me text you". Well what is going through their mind? Why can't they say yes or no and why do they leave it at that? Well my friends I can't speak for the friends that have stood me up, but someone I can speak for is myself. What went through my mind when I was the guy saying the maybe..and umms... I was really just trying to avoid hanging out with them for a reason that was unannounced to me.(Keep in mind that I was not the loving catholic you see today.) This situation is what usually comes to my mind when people say let your 'Yes' be yes and your 'No' be no. I didn't deserve their friendship, but I'm glad that they showed me the love they did because it showed me how I SHOULD be treating others. Treat others with intentionality, love, and devotion. This is my motto.
I don't think there is ever a reason (at least for me) that can be great enough to warrant skipping out on a meal with a friend. This isn't just because I need food, but as people we need one another for love and friendship. So to this day I will not pass up an opportunity to get together with someone unless I earnestly have a prior engagement or am feeling like crud at which point I will communicate what it is that I planned and continue on trying to reschedule another time with them that I can set in stone!
So why is this important and what does it have to do with my spirituality?!?
Well I would have to say this very bible verse resonates within the heart. It allows us to be more intentional with one another in speech and actions. I'm not a fan when someone puts as much effort into a friendship as they do when they are trying to get a ticket dismissed with the mandatory online drivers safety course.
However, this verse goes beyond the example I spoke of before. It calls us to be ever vigilant! Again, the first thing that comes to mind for the majority of us in a relationship, but not in marriage, is the idea of being chaste or sexually pure...well I have a bit of a problem with this. When did this become the only thing we have to pay attention to? Why not paying attention to the many woes of your roommate, or the cries of your sister, or perhaps the complaints from a mother? Why should we not be using our many talents to work on fixing these problems? Why do these things go unattended? Well I have a hunch, it is because society has hard pressed the idea that the only thing wrong with society is it's utter lack of morals in the bedroom. Thank you media for that one. Don't get me wrong that is all well and good because that is also a big problem with the whole people having sex before marriage thing. We need to realize in reality an utter lack in care for our brothers needs and feelings due to our selfish actions is just as bad. I'm not telling you to suck up to people nor am I telling you to be a servant to everyone who asks you to be their slave, but what I am admonishing you to do is to make yourself more accountable in your actions to those around you because these people do notice the love you put into your actions, they do notice when you leave the burdensome tasks for them to take care of, they do notice when a selfish act is committed just as much as a selfless act is.
Let's just say you didn't care that much about your friend and you think they don't actually matter...Do you care about God? I'm sorry to have to deliver this news but remember Matthew 25? May the Lord bless us all with the divine wisdom to know what is right and just. Pray for strength because a trial will come soon. I know it is for me.
Before you leave your house a mess for your roommate or perhaps significant other to clean up think. Would you leave your house a mess for God to clean up after you? hmm...food for thought.
Side note, if you could think of one person that you KNOW you are doing this to...what are the odds that this is happening with multiple people in your life subconsciously, without realizing it?
Don't fear doing the wrong things.
Fear that you aren't doing the RIGHT things.