Last night I watched the President give the State of the Union address. It was vividly clear at the end, he did what many politicians do, promised much. I don’t know about you, but I am exasperated with politicians who promise the moon, but only deliver a moon pie. Ok, that was a bit cheesy, but you get the picture. Although he, and many others, under-deliver, we see the power of rhetoric. The President delivers speeches with power, intellect, conviction, force, flow, eloquence, and creativity. He is able to use rhetoric to stir emotions in people through his content and delivery method.
However, like I said, he (as well as others) has, and continues, to under-deliver. So, on one hand we see the power of rhetoric, but, on the other, we see the emptiness, and sometimes manipulation, of rhetoric. This reminds me of what Jesus said, “Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil” (Matt 5:37). I think it would be harsh for me to suggest that politicians are evil, although some are. But, I think we see clearly, with politicians, the power and emptiness of rhetoric. As believer, we must guard what we say, and if we say we will do something, simply let it be done. When we follow through on what we say, we reflect our God and Savior, who never fails short on his promises. So today let us guard our mouth from empty promises that glamorize or puff us up for the moment, that many times only show the emptiness and frailty of our control over life; but, rather let us use our mouth for grace, making our conversation be seasoned with salt (Col 4:6), pointing people to our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.
For our politicians, sometimes less promises is more. Don’t tell us what you will do if you have more power, or more money—but rather sometimes speak to us as a leader—encouraging us where we are in life, and using rhetoric not for us to put more belief in government, but more belief in that, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”