Let your ‘Yes’ be yes, and your ‘No,’no. ..” (James 5:12 NIV)
I couldn’t wait to get to the hospital to see my father. He had suffered a stroke and the report given to me by the nurses was that he was dazed and confused. Being a nurse myself, I would not feel relieved until I laid eyes on him and made my own assessment of the situation. Unsure of what I would find, I felt butterflies in my stomach as I walked down the hospital corridor hunting for his room number.
As I entered his room, I was put at ease by his normal appearance and alertness. He greeted me by name. I breathed a sigh of relief as I continued to carry on a normal conversation with him.
However, when he voiced to me that my sister and her husband lived on “Green Acres” (an old TV show), I realized my father had a significant problem with his memory. After this, he spoke to me in jumbled up facts and garbled messages. As I listened to his gibberish, I began to feel like I was the one who was confused.
My confusion regarding my fathers message makes me think about the many times we, as parents with our wits about us, have done the same thing to our children. We give them the garbled message “Do as I say, but not as I do,” as our actions contradict what we in fact have told our children to avoid.
The apostle James recited the words of Jesus when he informed us, “Let your ‘Yes’ be yes, and your ‘No,’ no” this reinforces that we need to live up to the reputation of what we speak to others. God will hold us accountable for this.
As parents, if we think it is best that our children not display bad language or watch sexual television programs, then we should consider it harmful to ourselves as well. Children learn from example. When our actions don’t line up with what we say, we can lose credibility regarding the lesson we are trying to teach them.
We can take a stand to better our lives and our world by paying close attention for any garbled messages we may be speaking.