The truth

This is a scene with which many hitchhikers are quite familiar. The motorist comes along the road, and suddenly is confronted with the hitchhiker with the thumb in the air, or the notice held out.

What is the motorist to do? Just keep going, or stop to give the hiker a lift? What do some of them do? The indicator of the car comes on to show that he is turning right or left - and then when safely past the hiker, the indicator is switched off, and he continues down the road.

- There are so many, many ways of telling a lie.

- The hitchhiker, or at least one to whom I spoke, would much prefer if the motorist stopped and said “No”!

- “Let your Yes be Yes and your No be No!” (Mt 5:37)

- taken from “150 More Stories for Preachers and Teachers” by Jack McArdle

2 Corinthians 1:18-22

I swear by God’s truth, there is no Yes and No about what we say to you. The Son of God, the Christ Jesus that we proclaimed among you - I mean Silvanus and Timothy and I - was never Yes and No: with him it was always Yes, and however many the promises God made, the Yes to them all is in him. That is why it is “through him” that we answer Amen to the praise of God. Remember it is God himself who assures us all, and you, of our standing in Christ, and has anointed us, marking us with his seal and giving us the pledge, the Spirit, that we carry in our hearts.

Matthew 5:13-16

Jesus said to his disciples: “You are the salt of the earth. But if salt becomes tasteless, what can make it salty again? It is good for nothing, and can only be thrown out to be trampled underfoot by men.

“You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill-top cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp to put it under a tub; they put it on the lamp-stand where it shines for everyone in the house. In the same way your light must shine in the sight of men, so that, seeing your good works, they may give the praise to you Father in heaven.”

One of my character faults is that I am a procrastinator. I take a long time to do something which could have been done earlier. I give the excuse that I want to think about how to approach this thing that I must do, and I let it dwell in my thoughts until the last minute. While it is partially true, and I do end up doing it well most of the time, it is also true that had I done it earlier, I would have had more time to make changes and to improve on it.

It was fine until one day, a friend went through an examination of conscience with me, and came across this line: Have I put off till tomorrow what I can do today, which is the same as not doing it at all?

And that really hit me hard. Because procrastination is the same thing as not doing something. Since we do not live in the future, but live in the present, if I put off something to tomorrow, it means that I am not doing something which I should be doing now. If someone comes to me and asks me to help him to do something, answering “Yes, but later…” is the same as saying “No”, especially for me because “later” never comes.

In other words, my “Yes” doesn’t mean “Yes”. My “Yes, but later” really means “No”. What kind of message am I sending to other people when I say “Yes” but mean “No”? I am, in fact, lying, when what I say is not what I mean. I am not speaking the truth, which means, I am not speaking Jesus, who is the truth. Rather, I am being an anti-Christ, when I do not speak the truth and instead speak a lie.

When I was a child, my parents always taught me not to lie. That’s something that’s deeply engraved in my being. Even today, I find it hard to tell a direct lie. But then, there are so many ways of telling a lie that sometimes we believe our own lies. In my case, I really do believe that when I say “Yes, but later”, I am saying “Yes”. But experience has shown that when I say “Yes, but later”, I almost always never get round to doing it.

Still, Jesus is the truth and is calling me, and you, to live a life of truth. That means saying “Yes” when we mean “Yes” and “No” when we mean “No”. Otherwise, we are leading lives that are against truth, against God.

Dear Lord, help us procrastinators to learn to say “Yes” when we mean “Yes”, and to say “No” when we mean “No”. Amen.

Give Thanks to the Lord for: Those who speak and live by the truth.

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