"Let your word be ‘Yes, Yes’ or ‘No, No’; anything more than this comes from the evil one."
-The Gospel according to Saint Matthew, Chapter 5, verse 37, New Revised Standard Version
In line with the theme of "Daily Devotions," we'll start incorporating Scriptures, texts, and quotes as these are easy to access and reflect upon.
First, let me say today's theme struck me first, followed by recalling this quote from Jesus. I chose the translation of the New Revised Standard Version because my current Bible uses this translation and because it's widely-used and fairly easy to comprehend.
Second, we should probably do an entry on translation, which will likely be tomorrow's reading.
The above quote from Jesus is situated in a context discussing the swearing of oaths; Jesus admonishes the listeners (and perhaps us, the readers, as well) to not swear or create oaths and gives reasoning for why the creation of such oaths isn't a good idea.
He then goes on to give the quote above.
There are likely enormous treatises written on this matter, but the bottom line is about having integrity: don't make something elaborate, don't make everything into a big production, just follow through with what you said you were going to do.
Checking over translations, the second part mentioning "the evil one" is translated sometimes as "from evil" as well. I think that if we take this as Jesus being entirely literal, it comes off as saying that making oaths is something originating with Satan. That doesn't entirely make sense, but if take a less literal understanding and think of it as, "Making your promises too complicated is going to cause a bunch of trouble for you" sounds about right.
There's a lot of chaos in our world, and our social media and instant access to constant floods of new information complicate this. The exposure is a double-edged sword, as sometimes well-meaning but perhaps poorly informed people enter the spotlight and get harassed, but at other times, we see a number of people's hypocrisy in declaring positions and rules that they themselves proceed to bend and outright break.
"Rules for thee but not for me" is a bad look for everyone, and it's best avoided. If we hold to a set of standards, we should hold ourselves to those standards across the board, in all situations.
This could open up a new conversation as well: what do you do in a situation when your own knowledge and awareness have been expanded, and you have to begin to discard or amend rules you'd formerly adopted? That could be a whole workshop in and of itself. Somebody remind me of that if the Aquarian Catholic Spiritual Community ever becomes super big and localized, and I'll put something together.
Let us reflect on having integrity. Let us reflect on keeping our word.