February 27, 2008
Let your ‘‘yes’’ be yes and your ‘‘no’’ be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation. James 5: 12
This past week one of my dear colleagues sent me an article about a man, George Turkelbaum, who worked at a New York Publishing firm. The story talked about how George had died at his desk and it took five days before anyone noticed.
My friend said, “This story has Daily Devotion written all over it.” He was right, but probably not for the reason he thinks. You see there is no George Turkelbaum. George is a figment of somebody’s imagination.
Even so, the story that speaks of how isolated and insulated we have become appeals to people who feel unloved and unappreciated. Because the story touches people, they are circulating it all around the Internet. It won’t take too long before everybody will know about the passing of George Turkelbaum.
And everybody will know something that is wrong. Now, it doesn’t make much difference what people believe when it comes to George Turkelbaum. Since he doesn’t exist, he can’t care. But what we think and say does make a world of difference when everybody knows the wrong thing about a real someone.
Countless reputations, lives, and futures have been ruined because “everybody knew something to be true”—something which wasn’t.
So that the word of Christians might mean something, so we might make a true and believable witness to Christ who gave Himself to save us, James encouraged the Savior’s followers to watch the things they say. By the Holy Spirit’s inspiration he put it very simply: “Let your ‘yes’ be yes and your ‘no’ be no.”
James didn’t want to see the Savior’s flawless reputation ruined by Christians. The false witnesses at His trial had tried to do that already. No, our job is to let our “yes”, be yes.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, when false witnesses accused You, You were silent and offered no defense. We pray that we may never join the ranks of false witnesses against others. Let us be careful of what we say so You may be glorified and others protected. In Your Name. Amen.
NOTICE: Lutheran Church Charities invited me to write a sermon of comfort for the victims of the shooting at Northern Illinois University. That sermon has been posted here: Sermon Your viewing and response is appreciated.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries