“All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”

– Matthew 5:37

In Jesus’ time, there were no written contracts because the price of ink and paper was expensive. The excessive cost of writing things down demanded that there be another protocol for making legal agreements in the ancient East. In Jewish culture, the custom was that if a verbal consensus would be reached, the parties would shake hands, and then they would swear by the Name of God that they would keep their promise to each other.

In essence, when they invoked the Lord in any agreement, they made it a verbal contract. This was an important part of the legal system of that day. Though I don’t know this for sure, I’m guessing that the ease of making such contracts caused the process to become a bit too common. Understanding human nature, I’m pretty sure that people started cutting corners, and in an effort to create optionality, or the ability to get out of a legal contract, they started swearing by God’s city of Jerusalem or by His earth, but evading their ultimate responsibility to Him. I believe it was to this cavalier culture that Jesus spoke when he said to stop making contracts altogether and simply live as an honest and fair person.

Friend, don’t hide behind fancy words or pious promises. Instead, be a person who is completely resolved to live, walk, and speak the truth, even when risk is required. If you lose something because you were honest, God will see it and reward you. By choosing to honor Him before honoring men, you position yourself to receive blessings from Heaven, and you open the door to greater intimacy with Him. Become a person of truth and you will inherit much more than you give up, as you cultivate influence that has eternal impact!


Jesus, I am resolved to be a person of honesty, no matter what it costs me.


Are you an honest and fair person?

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