Thursday, April 1, 2010

"Let Your Yes be Yes" a Lesson from 24

33"Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.' 34But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God's throne; 35or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. 36And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. 37Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one." --Matthew 5:33-37 NIV

One of my favorite TV shows is 24. And you might be surprised that my favorite character is not Jack Bauer (although he is pretty cool...I wish I could do all that stuff the same day I was stabbed in the gut and shot with a 9mm Uzi saved only by my Kevlar vest...but I digress). My favorite character is Chloe O'Brien. Here is what I love about Chloe O'Brien.
1. She always seems to be doing the right thing. If there is a choice to make, she will take the high ground in most cases.
2. She submits to authority. Unless it is absolutely necessary to disobey, Chloe does what her supervisors tell her to do.
3. Chloe is excellent at her job. Few people in her office realize how important she is to the function of CTU, especially in times of crisis. But when someone questions her, she is usually right, even if they don't always believe her.
4. She doesn't draw attention to herself. More than once in a season (sometimes in an episode), Chloe can be found proving someone wrong because they didn't trust her or believe in her and all along she knew more about what was going on than they did. When all is said and done, you don't find her gloating about how she was right and everyone else was wrong.

While the show is fictional, her character inspires me more than any on the rest of the show. While other people are deceitful and corrupt, or they are so arrogant about their position, Chloe is the one person who just does her job to the best of her ability and can always be counted on when things get rough. As Jesus taught in the sermon on the mount that we should not make promises to God or others that we cannot keep. We should be people of integrity and simply let our yes be yes and our no be no. Then when people need us in time of crisis, they don't have to worry if they can depend on us. So how do we do that in our own lives?

1. We should be dependable. Nobody likes a flake. Christians should be people who hold up our ends of commitments. We should be where we say we are going to be. I tell my youth that the more they prove to their parents that they can be trusted, the more their parents can trust them. It's the same way between adults. If people know we are Christians, they should know we can be trusted.

2. We should make good choices. While this certainly applies to sin, there are things that aren't necessarily sinful that are just bad choices. We should seek to have good judgment in all our decisions.

3. We should strive to excel in all our endeavors. Someone once told me "If anything is worth doing, it's worth doing right." It doesn't mean we have to be the world's greatest at everything we do, but if we are going to commit to do something, we should strive to do it well. As Paul taught the church at Corinth, we should do all things to the glory of God. While this applies to everything, I think it's especially true of things that involve other people. If we're serving on a committee, or working in an office with other workers we should do all things as unto the Lord.

4. We should not gloat when we prove someone wrong. One of the things about Jesus that is most likable, is he never says "I told you so." Even after Peter denied him three times, Jesus showed him love and grace.

What do you do to "let your yes be yes and your no be no?"

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