Hell No

“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: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” (Matthew 5:33-37 NIV)

Maybe I’m just stupid, but I’ve never really understood this passage before. I’ve always read it and thought about oaths. I thought it meant when you promise to do something don’t swear by heaven that you’ll do it. I always concentrated on the oath part and never on what you were actually doing. Jesus was talking about being truthful. Don’t swear to God that you’ll never beat up on your sister again. Just don’t beat up on your sister. Don’t make all these triumphant claims appealing to God about what you will or won’t do. Just do or do not do them. It’s that simple. It’s an integrity issue. And all this time I thought it was about saying ‘no’ instead of ‘hell, no.’

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