#8. Obey Jesus’ instructions about plain, honest speech.
“Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.” – Matthew 5:37.
Speaking plainly and honestly is something lost in our culture. Be honest with yourself, have you lied today? What about a half-truth? It is easy to spin our words so that they ‘benefit’ us. However, this ‘benefit’ is nothing more than earthly accolades and successes, things which hold no eternal significance.
I love the perspective of St. Augustine when it comes to telling the truth and to making promises. Augustine believed that to say “I promise” would be dishonourable based on the fact that a promise implies that your freestanding word is not binding.
Foster summarizes this all perfectly by saying: “If you consent to do a task, do it. Avoid flattery and half-truths. Make honesty and integrity the distinguishing characteristics of your speech.”
“If thou are absolutely obedient to God, then there is no ambiguity in thee and […] thou are mere simplicity before God. […] One thing there is which all Satan’s cunning and all the snare of temptation cannot take by surprise, and this is simplicity.” – Soren Kierkegaard