I’m Not Doing That
Was I vacillating when I wanted to do this? Do I make my plans according to the flesh, ready to say “Yes, yes” and “No, no” at the same time? 2 Corinthians 1:17
Years ago, I knew an individual who would say that he’d do something, but then simply wouldn’t do it. To those of us who had to work with him, he quickly became known as completely unreliable, which was maddening. As I came to detest his duplicity, anything that he was attached to was tainted by my view of him. If he’d have asked me to join the local Rotary Club, I’d have said no because of my low opinion of him. If I hadn’t been a Christian and he’d have told me that he was, I’d have wanted nothing to do with Christ.
In today’s passage, Paul referred to his integrity, in which others could trust that he always meant what he said. He didn’t say yes when he meant no, and he lived up to his word. He taught that it’s a fleshly (sinful) tendency to be inconsistent, saying yes, when you have no intention of living up to the commitment you’ve made. The implication is that, as Christians, our integrity – or lack thereof – is a reflection on Christ. If we claim to be Christians, our actions must be consistent with our words, or else the world will view us as hypocrites, which reflects poorly on the one we claim to follow.
Most of us are familiar with this though. Someone asks us to do something, and we’re caught off guard, so we say yes out of obligation. Maybe we say we’ll think about it when we have no intention of following through. Or maybe we give the Christian answer – “I’ll pray about it” – knowing that we’re not going to pray, because we don’t plan to do the thing in the first place. Then, we spend the next few days trying to think up a good excuse to get us out of the thing we said we’d consider doing. Sorry. Something came up. My great aunt’s dog is in the hospital in Saskatchewan.
Paul taught that it would be far better for us to just learn to say no. If we feel we should do a thing, then we should say yes and follow through. If we’re not going to do a thing though, it would be far better to just say so up front. I’m not going to do that.
As Christians, the world is watching our behavior. Our word is a measure of our integrity and our integrity – or lack thereof – is a reflection on our faith in Christ.