James’ admonishment for sincerity of word reminds us that we have always fought the urge to misdirect others with our verbal commitments. Let your “Yes” mean “Yes” is just as important today as it was to James. If you are to say yes to God, mean it. Let it overwhelm you and permeate your entirety. In a similar way, if you cannot say yes, then feel the liberation of saying no and meaning that. Many of us find ourselves overextended these days, because we are naturally givers. We regret saying no, and so the yes escapes us without intent.
The freedom James gives to us here is that we are not condemned when we say No or Yes. We are only condemned when we commit to one or the other without sincerity.
—Liliana Mamani Condori is a Peruvian lawyer pursuing a master’s degree in theological studies at Boston College. Sam Hay is finishing his MA in Theology and Ministry at B.C., and currently works for its School of Education.