Don’t go there.
If you make a statement, back it up. If you make a promise, follow through. If you make a stand, stand on it. But don’t go there if you don’t intend to be accountable. For every idle word you speak will be brought under scrutiny on the last day, so be sure they’re ones that allow you to look eyeball to eyeball with the LORD and not be ashamed.
But if there are lies, idle words, and broken promises in your portfolio, open it up RIGHT NOW and ask the LORD to erase them, cleanse you, and forgive you. You don’t want that junk left in there! A clean slate and a clear conscience are offered freely by the LORD Jesus, if you truly want them.
Remember Joseph’s brothers? They sold him into slavery for selfish reasons, and then lied to their father. They didn’t actually SAY Joseph was dead; they just let their father believe it, based on circumstantial evidence, and then never corrected that assumption.
If you’ve read the book of Genesis, you know the story – how the LORD used their evil intentions for His good, and saved Egypt and the land of Canaan through Joseph – including Joseph’s own family. But the brothers had to face up to Joseph first, and were held accountable for their actions. He led them to believe he was going to kill or imprison them as spies, if they couldn’t prove their innocence by actually producing their father and youngest brother. They’d led their father to believe a lie, and now that lie was coming back to bite them. The sorrow they felt over their evil deed weighed heavily upon them at this point. Joseph was getting through to them on a level they could identify with.
In truth, Joseph intended to bring his family into safety, but his brothers needed a lesson in honesty first. So, instead of revealing his identity at first meeting, Joseph tested the brothers. What would they say to being accused of spying? Would they lie (again)? Would they admit to having another brother at home – the one dearest to Joseph? Were they repentant for the way they’d treated Joseph?
The brothers did as Joseph required, but only after much procrastination and extreme fear. They brought their youngest brother Benjamin to Egypt – to the great sorrow of their father Israel, yet with his permission. Again, Joseph tested them, letting them believe he would keep Benjamin as hostage because of a purported theft. At that point, Judah pled with him for the sake of Benjamin and of his father, offering his own life in the place of Benjamin’s, and confessing his own sin and his brothers’. He then reminded Joseph that they’d done as he required by bringing Benjamin:
And thou saidst unto thy servants, Except your youngest brother come down with you, ye shall see my face no more. Genesis 44:23
Judah was saying, “See, we’ve done what you asked. Now please let us go back to our father, so we don’t kill him with the loss of this son. He has grieved for Joseph, the one he loved so dearly, and if you take this one too, he will simply give up and die. We cannot let that happen if we have any way at all to prevent it.”
It was time to stand and be judged for their idle words. They didn’t want to go there! The brothers had been jealous of Joseph, and hated him because his integrity made them look bad. They’d schemed and plotted his demise. They had intentionally led his father to believe he’d been killed by wild beasts. And they’d never come clean with their father nor with the LORD. Their lies and unwillingness to be accountable came back to bite them – and the bite was very sharp. But because of their sorrow and repentance, they were forgiven and restored to fellowship with their brother, and the LORD used the whole thing for good.This is page 82, line 3, of the book nearest to me – which was the Daily Post writing prompt that appeared in my inbox this morning.