Thursday, May 10, 2007

I was talking to a friend and missionary in South America yesterday morning. I was sharing with him the frustration of dealing with the current culture in the United States of people saying "yes" but not meaning it.

If you watch cop shows on television, you quickly see a story about a woman who said "no" to a man, but the man took it as a "yes." The result is ridiculous and painful.

The opposite is also true. We have reached a point in our society where it is okay to say "yes" when you have no intention of meaning "yes." In essence, your "yes" means "no." However, the hearer of "yes" is not familiar with your game, and assumes that your "yes" means "yes," and makes plans based on it.

As I shared, my friend told me of recent events in the country he serves. Twice in the last month or so, a team of short term missionaries made plans to come and minister alongside him. He and his team spent hours and days setting things up. They wanted the short term team to have a good experience and to further the Kingdom.

In both cases, moments before the team was to arrive at his location, a phone call would come advising him that, "oh by the way, we will not be coming."

In our "throw away" society, most of us have no clue the depth of what those words mean. It speaks volumes to what our priorities are in the US. We will pay for a trip and not be committed to it. Somehow, then when we bail on it, we think, "oh perhaps my money will help since I can't."

Much work goes into setting up trips, both here and overseas. It is not a simple thing. It does not happen easily. Too many Americans purvey the attitude that "it's okay if I don't follow through, because somebody else will do it for me."

Does that work at your house? If you don't empty the trash, does the "trash fairy" suddenly appear and empty it for you? Does it work at your office? Your school? Does someone magically step in and handle your project or study for your test and take it in your place?

We did not learn this behavior from Christ. Every time we allow our "yes" to mean "no," it costs someone. It is not inexpensive to lack follow-through. It may not cost us individually...or at least we may think it doesn't. Every time we 'commit then quit,' we are saying that this is acceptable behavior. We teach our children the same thing by our actions. Then we wonder why they are the way they are.

The death of a vision comes at the cost of our disobedience to Christ. We will be accountable for our actions. When we say "yes" and don't follow through, it can bring to an end the hope that someone had. Sometimes it means that lost people don't come to know Jesus. The Bible speaks loudly on that topic.

Because of our comfort and affinity for pleasure, we like to say "yes" until a "better" opportunity comes along. We tend to do what we want, when we want. We have the freedom to do so. We will say "yes" to the idea of something, but when we see it will take personal sacrifice and investment on some level, we have a tendency to say, "Oh, God has called me to do this instead."

He is not a God of confusion. He does not change His mind. He does not compel you to go and have you give your "yes," only to flip-flop later and have you give your "no" because a better opportunity He did not foresee, suddenly arose.

The Word of God says, ..."let your "yes" be "yes" and your "no" be "no."

When we follow the Word of God, great things happen as a result of our obedience, and we glorify Him. When we follow the current whim or emotion of our circle of friends, and move in and out of commitments, we cause suffering that is unintended, whether we ever see it personally or not. We are accountable for those actions.

Please, let your "yes" be "yes."



At 1:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're so right! We live in such a selfish, thoughtless culture.

We try to point these kinds of actions out to our kids so that they already see it as wrong when their friends start to pressure them or opportunities come up to choose how they will behave, but I guess we should back it up more from the Word as well.

Thanks for the reminder. We need to remember the preciousness of others and how important our word is.


At 7:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your message struck a cord with me, one that I needed desperately to hear. I have been wavering in deep dark places whether or not I made a good choice in saying "yes" to my daughter's mission trip. I have been trying to "push" the envelope and somehow make it her fault that she could not go, so that I could feel better about her being home, safe with me.

How selfish. She felt called by the Lord to do a mission, and has made some sacrafices to make it happen. I said "yes". I will remain a "yes", and now know why.

Thank you for all you do to further the kingdom.

At 2:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really love this post... it helps through what I'm going through right now. I was told that I could go somewhere but now I can't and it makes me feel bad because I feel like I'm letting others down. But I know that our disappointment is God's divine appointment and somehow God will bring good out of this situation and use it to glorify Him. This post has helped me understand that others go through the same thing. And it's a good reminder that we should follow through on our word.


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