“All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ anything beyond this comes from the evil one” – Mathew 5:17 (NIV).
Those who happened to have grown around a typical African village market would already be familiar with the concept of bargaining. Normally when given a price of an item you first step back, pause and then offer a counter price starting at the very bottom. The seller coughs back a rejoinder a bit lower than his original price. You improve yours up a little bit. The seller makes a few excuses, lowers further and claims it is the final price. You insist that you have offered the final price too and are about to walk away. Things can then go either way. The seller may wave you off or still come down until you settle at one mid-point price.
This kind of selling works well for the one who has been trained in the art of bargaining. However, the one not may rush out to buy at the first mention, only to learn later that someone else took the very item at half the price. The buyer naturally moans that he was cheated and cries foul.
Perhaps for this reason is why certain folks prefer supermarket prices. There once you see the labeled price it is the final one. You can’t go down to the cash register and start bargaining for a lower price. In the modern world this is the preferred and most efficient way of doing business. It is fast, straightforward, clean and clear.
Have you ever wondered that the Lord wants our relationship to be like the supermarket model where other than leave those we relate with second guessing, just as it were in a typical village market, we are clear and straightforward! For example, if you make a pledge to make a contribution towards a certain fund why then start haggling after a budget has been drawn based on your word! If you make an appointment to attend a dinner and the host draws up plans and prepares a dish, is it okay to call back just a few minutes before and say you were not exactly sure when you made that promise to attend dinner! The host may rightly feel let down and take you thereafter as someone not reliable.
As in our verse today, the Lord is telling us to make every effort that our relations are pure, simple, clean and straightforward. We are after all urged, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18). And one of those things that can affect any relation and rob it of peace is when our words cannot be taken for granted. This might well happen as we take advantage of others ignorance to leave them feeling sold the short end of the stick.
Prayer for today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, help me in my relationship with others be clear, simple and straightforward so as to keep the peace that glorifies you, this I pray in Jesus’s name.