I sat in my neighbor’s living room, enjoying tea with her while we both laughed til tears ran down our faces. Amanda had done it again. This little girl was always such a source of comedy and yet she wasn’t trying to be funny at all!
We had become good friends with our next-door Sikh neighbors. Our firstborn, Joshua, and their only child, Pavandeep were buddies and often played together. However, my good friend Kalvant loved children and any and all of our kids were welcome to go over and play…something which our preschooler, Amanda made good use of. You see, Amanda had discovered that my good friend always kept candy ready just in case children came over. Kalvant could never resist a child asking for a sweet (what candy is called in Kenya) and Amanda could be very persuasive!
The laughing episode in my neighbor’s living room was due to a question and resulting story my neighbor posed. “Did Amanda ever give you a sweet yesterday when she came home from playing here?”, she asked me. “No, she didn’t give me anything. Was she supposed to?”, I asked in innocence. That’s when she began chuckling and proceeded to tell me that she had offered Amanda a piece of candy as she was about to head out the door for home. After thanking our neighbor politely (we always tried to instill polite manners in our children), Amanda paused and asked, “Can I have one for Joshua?”. Upon this request, Kalvant willingly handed over another piece, which Amanda put in her pocket. “And Sam? Can I have one for him?”. “Sure!”, came the reply, accompanied by another sweet. Amanda started out the door before she remembered, “Oh, and can I have one for mommy?” “Of course!”, my loving friend replied, handing Amanda yet another piece. By this time, the pockets of our conniving daughter’s shorts were bulging with sweetness, almost as sweet as her little face as she again politely thanked our generous and trusting neighbor.
Naturally, though we lived right next door, by the time Amanda came in the door to our home, her pockets were empty, the only evidence being a bit of stickiness around her mouth, which I naturally attributed to a piece of candy I knew our neighbor was wont to offer our children from time to time. There was nothing for Josh…nothing for Sam…certainly nothing for me!
I wonder…do we sometimes find ourselves making promises we either have no real intention of keeping or we cannot keep? How careful are we when we give our word? We are told to let our yes be a true yes and our no, a true no, nothing more, nothing less (Matthew 5:37). I always feel disturbed when I see someone trying to comfort another by saying “It will be OK. I promise!” Wait, how does that person know it will really be OK? How can they promise something that is beyond their control? We need to be careful of our words and of the promises we make to people. Things said carelessly can do more harm than good. Let us let our yes be a true yes and not make promises we can’t keep. If we want another piece of candy, let’s just be honest and ask for that instead of trying to use deceit to get what we want. I believe God honors honesty. Who knows? Maybe if we’re honest, we’ll just get that second piece of candy to enjoy guilt free!