Growing up, my parents never allowed my sister or me to use the phrase, “I swear…” and in obedience to them, I did not say it throughout my childhood. In high school, it became much more common to hear people say this to add emphasis to what they were telling, and I joined in. In an effort to get my point across, it seemed okay to do.
Today this phrase is used all the time, and most people don’t give the words a second thought. I even hear teenagers take the phrase to the next level by saying, “On God.” This new variance gets deep under my skin.
However, I read Matthew 5:33-37, and this is exactly what Jesus is teaching against. Can you imagine how much these words anger the God of the Universe, if they bother me so much?
The thing most people miss is their complete lack of control.
We make statements, promises, and oaths, but in reality we don’t have the ability to guarantee these any of these things will actually happen. Even the most basic thing you can think of, like being on time for work tomorrow. Can you swear to your boss you will be on time? Sure. Can you guarantee that it will happen? Not even close. All it would take is one little piece of metal to stick in your tire, a wreck to shut the road down, and the list goes on and on of things we cannot control.
With the knowledge that we have zero power or ability to make these things happen, would it not be wise to lay off making promises and oaths? Not to mention the real question of why our reputation would demand a so strong an affirmation of what we say. If people are requesting you to make the statement under oath, they apparently do not have much confidence in your words.
Because we have no control, we put our reputation in danger every time we make an oath. Jesus tells us very plainly, “Let what you say be simply ‘yes’ or ‘no.’” I would find it very hard to believe that most of us would take an oath, knowing we have no control of the outcome. Yet, with every promise, oath, or swear we do just that. Jesus made this very easy for a believer to maintain integrity in his words, by avoiding oaths altogether.
Doing this is not only a way to safeguard your reputation, but also a way to acknowledge His power and authority over your life. This is a very simple form of witnessing in a world full of carefully worded contracts and precise agreements.
This is one time when a one-word answer is the best answer.
For starters: I am nothing special, I love Jesus and He is my Lord. I am the husband of a godly woman. She is working with me to raise a godly child. I am a teacher. I love to read and write.