From the Pastor’s Pen: “Blessed...” (Matthew 5:33-37)
“Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ But I say to you, ‘Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.”
A dear friend once told me, “We take vows to our own hurt.” Oaths and vows are the verbal cement to strengthen our commitment in dire situations. Big oaths are for big moments; however, many use big oaths to hide little character. How many times have we heard someone add to their word - “I swear on my mother’s grave!”? In Jesus’ day and age, the problem was not much different. Over and over, Jesus reminds us that we will be held accountable for our words. Words are important, and Jesus places the emphasis back on good character and truthful words. Does not Jesus demonstrate this by His own example?
Long ago, God made a promise to Abraham - a promise to bless, a promise to save. But Abraham had doubts - doubts which made Abraham wavered in his words. God could have said, “Just trust me.” However, God added a big oath to provide big comfort. “When God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath.” (Heb. 6:17) God kept his word by sending His Son, and this Jesus was obedient to the point of death, even death upon a cross in order to keep this oath. Jesus kept His word, even to His own hurt, to save those who waver in their words.
With such a Savior dwelling in us, we are called to keep our Word, even to our own hurt. In this way, we become conformed to the image of God’s Son (Rom. 8:29). For this end, Christ kept his word and died; for this end, we keep our word and live. Save the outrageous additions, leave your poor momma’s grave out of it, and let our words stand upon its own two feet. Let our Christian character add credibility to our “yes” and to our “no.”