Beloved, do not grumble against one another, so that you may not be judged. See, the Judge is standing at the doors! As an example of suffering and patience, beloved, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Indeed we call blessed those who showed endurance. You have heard of the endurance of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.
Above all, my beloved, 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.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
James’ admonishment for sincerity of word reminds us that we have always fought the urge to misdirect others with our verbal commitments. Let your “Yes” mean “Yes” is just as important today as it was to James. If you are to say yes to God, mean it. Let it overwhelm you and permeate your entirety. In a similar way, if you cannot say yes, then feel the liberation of saying no and meaning that. Many of us find ourselves overextended these days, because we are naturally givers. We regret saying no, and so the yes escapes us without intent.
The freedom James gives to us here is that we are not condemned when we say No or Yes. We are only condemned when we commit to one or the other without sincerity.
—Liliana Mamani Condori is a Peruvian lawyer pursuing a master’s degree in theological studies at Boston College. Sam Hay is finishing his MA in Theology and Ministry at B.C., and currently works for its School of Education.
“My Help, My Hope / Psalm 121“
I lift my eyes to you
my help, my hope
the heavens (who could imagine?)
the earth (only our Lord)
the infinite starry spaces
the world’s teeming breadth
All this. I lift my eyes
and I praise.
—from Uncommon Prayer by Fr. Daniel Berrigan, S.J.Please share the Good Word with your friends!