“And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let your word be ‘Yes, Yes’ or ‘No, No’; anything more than this comes from the evil one.” vss. 36-37
It’s unlikely that Jesus intended that we should never make promises or vows…a view that would pretty much undermine the commitments of marriage or ordination. There are most definitely occasions which call for statements of intention, and the words said at those times are certainly binding and reassuring. What Jesus has in mind is the swearing of oaths to convince hearers that our words of promise are truthful and sincere. Those oaths had become a necessity because of the human propensity to speak falsehoods. It was a way for a speaker to convince hearers that what had been spoken was indeed the truth. Such oaths are regularly used in courts of law to insure that juries and judges will be hearing the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Sadly, in recent years, it appears that there has been a growing disregard for truth-telling. Lying is excused by calling it hyperbole and we’ve become cynical about believing what even our leaders tell us. Oh how we long for that world described by Jesus, in which people tell the truth as a matter of course, and there is no need to swear oaths. It’s unlikely that we can change the growing trend in public discourse, but surely those who are followers of Jesus can be counted on to always tell the truth.
Thought for the Day: When am I most likely to lie?