Have you ever uttered the words, “I’ll pray for you”? But then you walk away and either you forget to pray or you walk away knowing deep within your heart that you really aren’t going to. It’s a hard thing to admit to but I will be the first here to say that I have been guilty of both.
Why do we say things like this when we really don’t mean them? Sometimes it is to save face. Other times it is to have the appearance of really caring. But then other times I think we want to sound more spiritual than we really are.
In Matthew 5:33-37 we are reminded of the importance of meaning what we say. In the Message version it says, “You only make things worse when you lay down a smoke screen of pious talk, saying, ‘I’ll pray for you,’ and never doing it, or saying, ‘God be with you,’ and not meaning it. You don’t make your words true by embellishing them with religious lace. In making your speech sound more religious, it becomes less true. Just say ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ When you manipulate your words to get your own way, you go wrong.”
Is anyone else feeling a little bit of a prickle in the heart? I know I did when I read this. It really struck me how disingenuous and false I am being. If I really don’t intend to pray, then why bother saying I will? But if I really do intend to pray then I either need to do it right then and there or make a concerted effort to keep my word.
Immediately after reading this portion of scripture, I had to ask for forgiveness. I wish I could go back and ask every person that I ever made false promises to, for their forgiveness.
So I am striving to really be careful about what I say so that when I do say something, I mean it.