I was taking a wedding service recently, and we had gone through the words together before the ceremony. The bride was from a different country to the bridegroom, and the wedding was taking place in the bride’s home district, which meant that translation was involved. The vows were to be said in English (the language of the bridegroom) and translated into the local tongue for the guests, except that the groom decided to try and learn the words in the bride’s language, and the bride to do the same in English. I could foresee lots of problems with this but in the event the groom repeated the words after me in English, whilst the bride did speak from memory also in English, which was then translated into her native language.
In case you are getting confused, the ceremony was actually fairly well understood by all who were present! However one thing everyone did understand was the positive assent given by both bride and groom to the questions asked of them. The answers were loud and very clear “I will, yes”.
When we visit other countries it’s often difficult to follow what is being said to us in another language, but it can be equally confusing at home when simple words of intention are not followed through with appropriate actions. How many husbands have said “I love you” but their actions have said the opposite to their wives? How often do children get confusing messages from their parents when they’re looking for role models for life? Does our ‘yes’ really mean what we say when we are in our church community and when we are in the secular environment of daily life?
Jesus encourages us to use simple statements without embellishment or the need of extra emphasis.
Matthew 5:37 says ‘Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’. Jesus also reminds us to mean what we say. The parable of the two sons in Matthew 21:28 shows us the need of being consistent in our speaking and our living.
I’m sure that the couple whose marriage I conducted had every intention of fulfilling their vows in the years ahead. Certainly their action for the rest of that day seemed to indicate this. I wonder how consistent we are in doing what we declare before God. Is our ‘yes’ really so definite?
Prayer: Lord God, we say so many things before You with good intentions at the time. We confess that we don’t always follow through with actions that are in line with our words. Please forgive us and help us to live in Your way so our ‘yes’ and ‘no’ really mean what we say as we seek to follow Your Word. Fill us with Your Spirit of truth and righteousness we pray. Amen.
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