Most important, my brothers and sisters, never make a solemn pledge—neither by heaven nor earth, nor by anything else. Instead, speak with a simple “Yes” or “No,” or else you may fall under judgment. – James 5:12 (CEB)
I made a promise to my four-year old nephew that I would take him swimming before I moved away. With moving day only about a week away, my brother reminded me of my commitment, and that his four-year old son would be disappointed if I didn’t take him swimming. Finishing up work, packing, there was so much to do in this last week, but this was an issue of integrity. I had not forgotten that I gave my nephew my word, so I took him swimming. I doubt he remembers it, but I do. He might have remembered it if I hadn’t followed through.
We’ve all had that friend or relative who tells us they are going to do something, and then they don’t. There’s always an excuse. But before I judge, how many times have I not followed through on a commitment I have made? It’s an issue of integrity, and it matters.
Whenever Jesus gave his word, he followed through. That’s our example. We may not be perfect at it, but we are called to it. It should be a characteristic of all disciples. Trust is foundational to all relationships, but how can you trust someone if they don’t have integrity? You can’t.
This final instruction from the book of James is about integrity. If you have integrity, you don’t need to make an oath, or swear, your yes means yes, and your no means no. I have found in my marriage, in parenting, in friendships, and in the work place, integrity is vital.
So, how’s your integrity? Can folks trust you to follow through with a simple yes or no?
Prayer: Lord, help me to be a person of integrity, to be someone who others can trust. Forgive me when I break promises, and inspire me to honor commitments. Amen.
p.s. I love this quote from Tony Dungy:
“Integrity, the choice between what’s convenient and what’s right.”