Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Do Not Swear At All

Chuckle: "Parents bear children, bore teenagers, and board newlyweds!"
Quote: “Oaths are but words, and words but wind.” --Samuel Butler

"Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.' But I tell you, Do not swear at all: . . . Simply let your 'Yes' be 'yes,' and your 'No' be 'No;' anything beyond this comes from the evil one" (Matthew 5:33-37 NIV).
The words of Jesus and other Biblical writers make it clear that honesty and integrity should be inherent in every believer. Having said that, we all realize that we live in a day when it is automatically assumed that people will lie unless they are forced to tell the truth under the penalty of law. Witnesses in court are required to swear an oath that they will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. They do this under the threat of being charged with perjury if they are untruthful. This principle is at work in many aspects of our lives.
Gone are the days when business deals were consummated with a handshake and a person's word. Today, we must have witnesses on contracts attesting that our signatures are authentic, that the contract is binding, and that its provisions will be carried out by the signatories. Notary publics attest to the authenticity of signatures on certain documents because of the risk that someone will be fraudulent.
In Biblical times, things were no different. Oaths were taken then as well. But, during his sermon on the mount, Jesus told his followers to be totally honest which makes oaths unnecessary. A Christian's word should be so dependable, that oaths are not only unnecessary but are the result of evil influence. The same is true when making promises to God. Jesus is saying that honesty and integrity should be inherent characteristics of Christians and should never be in question.
Obviously, we as Christians must comply with the requirements of our society and take oaths when legally necessary. This is so because we live in a sinful society that breeds distrust. But in our everyday dealing with fellow Christians and non-Christians alike, our word should be our bond. When we say "yes," I'll do something, we do it. When we say "no," I won't do something, our word is equally dependable. It is even more important that we keep the commitments we make to our Lord. If we are honest all the time, we will not feel pressured to back up our words with oaths.
Our children, grandchildren, and others watch us closely. The way we act and speak will have lasting impact on their lives. Even little "white lies" and half-truths become obvious to them. Do they see us as uncompromisingly honest in every aspect of life? Or, do they hear us scheming as to how we can be "slightly" dishonest in our dealings with others. We must remember that there are absolutes in life according to the Scriptures. And in our society where absolutes are giving way to a wave of relativism, our Lord would have us stand firm in the absolutes of honesty and integrity. Let your "yes" be yes, and your "No" be no.
Love, Jerry & Dotse

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