Leadership Lesson Three – Let Your Yes be Yes and Your No be No

To become a trusted and respected leader we must be straight-up with others. This means that we don’t play games with our words, we don’t lie or cover over things, and we don’t manipulate to get what we want.

To deal dishonestly with people may seem a solution to some problems but it is short-term thinking. Dishonesty of our words and intentions will always come back in a bad way. We want to make decisions out of integrity with others and ourselves.

Integrity is a word we use to indicate the strength of something through and through. For instance, imagine a board, a piece of wood made from a tree. Imagine that you want to use this board to make a stage to stand on. Now, to stand on a stage the stage must be made from good boards.

If the board has any crack in it we say it has lost its integrity, its strength. We can no longer count on the board to support any weight.

This is the same as leaders who do not lead out of integrity. It is as though they have a crack in their mind and words and actions. We realize after time that we cannot count on these kinds of leaders. They do not have integral strength for leading.

Now cracks in integrity show up in a lot of different ways, but one of the most critical ways it shows up is in this matter of letting our yes be yes and our no be no.

We want people to understand us and to trust us. This trust is hard to obtain if we are saying ‘yes’ but then doing a ‘no’ action, or if we are saying ‘no’ but making a ‘yes’ choice.

It is therefore very important to learn to speak only what we can speak. We must stand on truth and in integrity. We do not make promises we cannot keep. We do not cover over our inability with big words. We do not avoid confrontation with false words.

We speak what is and what is not. In this we become more honest. And others can begin to trust us. They may not like everything we have to say, but at least we are saying what is accurate and they will come to respect this. They will realize they can count on us to give them what is real.


APPLICATION ASSIGNMENT – Here are some Bible Verses to study and pray over:

Before you begin ask God to show you where you have not been in integrity with your words. Remember that conviction of sin by the Holy Spirit is a gift from God. It is the only way that we can see clearly to make things right. So we invite God to tell us where we have been out of integrity, where the cracks are in our minds and hearts.

“God I invite you to show me my integrity. Where are the cracks and how might I make them right? Please grow me in integrity today. Amen”



“But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.” James 5:12

“Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.” Matthew 5:37

“Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.” Proverbs 10:9

“Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways.” Proverbs 28:6

“Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool.” Proverbs 19:1

“Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight.” Proverbs 12:22

“For we aim at what is honorable not only in the Lord’s sight but also in the sight of man.” 2 Corinthians 8:21

“A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.” Proverbs 29:11


ACCOUNTABILITY – Two Things to Do:

1. When we have been out of integrity with our words there are two things going on. First we have established a habit of dishonesty with our words. This has set a spiritual battle in place within our life. The only way to break the stronghold of this battle is by praying it through in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We do that this way:

“God I come to you today in the name of my Lord Jesus Christ confessing to dishonesty and lack of integrity with my words. I see that I have caused much damage and have hurt others because of this. I realize that the cracks in my thinking and my words are sin to you and to others. I am sorry.

Today I say ‘No more’ to dishonesty with my words, to lack of integrity as a leader. Today I say ‘Yes’ to strength and letting my yes be yes and my no be no. I also confess that I need your help in this. Please make me into a person of integrity and truthfulness.

I cast off today all curses of the enemy over my words because of my sin. I say ‘No more’ in the name of my Lord Jesus Christ, and I trust you God to make me a new person in you. I give you all the glory Lord and I stand covered this day in the name and the blood of my Lord Jesus Christ. Continue to teach me Father God, Amen.”

2. The second thing is to commit in your heart and mind each day to changing the habit of your words. Integrity is a habit that strengthens and grows each day and over time. Every day you must commit to truthfulness with your words.

This will take some practice and that is okay. When you find yourself saying something, maybe promising something that you cannot do, just confess this to the person you are speaking with, “Oh, I just said something I shouldn’t have said. I am learning new habits of truthfulness in my speech but I just said something that I cannot promise. I’m sorry, I take back those words.”

Allow the humility of having to do this change you and grow you. You will begin to take your own words much more seriously when you commit to integrity and following through with others in each thing that comes out of your mouth.

Today’s Leadership Lesson has been long. I trust that you will read over this a number of times. Continue to be grown in the Lord and in integrity in the weeks ahead. This lesson is the foundation of the rest of your life as a leader. Take it to heart today and allow the Lord to teach you and to make you a better leader.

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