(March 4)

But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.” (Mt 5:37)

Let’s consider this helpful tip from our Lord, on the use of Yes-es and No-s in everyday life, right after He tells us not to swear. It’s the devil who is “a liar” and the father of lies (Jn 8:44), because he rejects the Word of God, who is the source of Truth. Our capacity for truth-telling is anchored and fortified in communion with Him, while we tend to slip into half-truths, manipulations, and overly-hasty Yes-es and No-s, when we listen to the voices in our own heads in the moment.

I’m thinking this morning of those cases when we say “Yes” or “No” to something too quickly, before investigating it sufficiently or thinking it through. This happens in “little” things, like saying “Yes” to buying a pair of shoes we don’t need, or saying “No” to an invitation, for no good reason. We might also say Yes-es or No-s that we don’t “really” mean to “big” things, like a job offer or marriage proposal, for the wrong reasons, like people-pleasing, misplaced ambition, or self-centered fears. In our political lives, we might routinely say hasty Yes-es or No-s to the concerns or opinions of others, without ever listening to them, or reading and thinking their thoughts through, just because we don’t like these “others.” We might also say hasty Yes-es or No-s to our own good or bad intentions and desires, so the good ones might never bear fruit, or the bad ones do.

I’m reminded this morning that God wants me not to miss out on, nor “miss the mark” with, the people, things and intentions I will encounter today. And He empowers me with the freedom and responsibility of saying “Yes” or “No” to them, or an honest “Maybe,” when I am not sure. God, grant us the courage, wisdom, and honesty to say “No” where we need to say No today; to say “Yes” to those and that which are good for us; and the patience to say “Maybe,” when we are not sure.