Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.' But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by Heaven, for it is God's throne; nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No.' For whatever is more than these is from the
I used to swear. If I had a big point to make, I'd swear to God--to underscore the importance of my words. I was convinced of my own righteousness.
Consider some types of swearing: 1) Foolish exaggeration: 'I swear it's hotter than Hades today.' 2) Foolish promises: 'I swear I'll make this deadline.' 'I swear it's the best car on the market.' 'I swear by my life I'm telling the truth.'
3) An oath to God: 'Lord, I swear I'll come back to church next week.' 4) An oath by God: 'I swear by God I'll get it done.' 5) Irreverence: 'OMG! Are you serious?' 'Jesus H. Christ!' 7) Profanity: You don't need any examples, but consider a 2400% increase of profanity in media between 2005 and 2010.*
In no uncertain terms, Jesus said to stop all types of swearing. Why? Consider His Self-declaration: 'I can of Myself do nothing' (John 5:30). In other words, He was powerless as a Man without God. Paul agreed: 'By the grace of God I am what I am' (1 Corinthians 15:10). James agreed: 'You do not know what will happen tomorrow' (James 4:14).
Big talk is like a candy bar: it tastes good for a minute, but there's no substance to it. In an hour, you feel emptier than before. Oaths are big talk.
For those of us tempted to believe in our own righteousness, God says 'All our righteous acts are like filthy rags' (Isaiah 64:6). For those of us tempted to believe in our own power, Jesus says, 'Apart from Me, you can do nothing' (John 15:5).
Here's the thing: 'God opposes the proud' (James 4:6), but 'Those who humble themselves will be exalted' (Matthew 23:12). A good way to humble ourselves is to give simple answers. 'Let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No.' For whatever is more than these is from the evil one' (Matthew 5:37). The evil one specializes in big talk.
Actors, models and talent for Christ specialize in God talk. So be sincere and keep it short. 'Yes' and 'No' are two of the most powerful words in the universe. Keep them on the tip of your tongue. Be kind. Don't swear.
To Be Continued...
'Children Who Hear Swear Words on TV Are More Aggressive': http://healthland.time.com/2011/10/17/children-who-hear-swear-words-on-tv-are-more-aggressive/
'Swearing is a Bad Habit: Why Swearing Affects Your Mental and Physical Health': http://www.elle.com/beauty/health-fitness/bad-habit-swearing
'Supreme Court strikes down policy regulating curse words on broadcast television': http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_20907496/supreme-court-strikes-down-policy-regulating-curse-words
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Sermon On The Mount series.