A teaching of Jesus' during The Sermon on the Mount.

I find this fascinating, both in the context of the time during Jesus' life, and during our own time. Jesus tells us never to swear a vow when promising something. He says never to swear by the the kingdom of heaven, nor by the earth not even by your own hand. Everything is sacred in God's eyes, don't presume to swear by anything he does. Presumably, then (as now), people would swear casually using God's name - something I find quite annoying.

The beginning of verse 37 "Just say 'yes' or 'no'" touches me. We shouldn't make extravagant promises, just say yes and get on with it. (now if only I could actually get on with stuff, I would be happy :)

This makes sense from a psychological perspective too, as most of Jesus' stuff does.

Swearing vows is an overcompensation--it allows us to metaphorically place a thing between us and our words, thereby removing us by one step from our promises. It's almost like handing off the responsibility, as if when you say, "I swear by all that's holy", you're somehow foisting the responsibility of the truth of your statement off onto the holy things.

Jesus tells us it's plain disrespectful for us to swear by God or God's emanations. This makes sense two ways: It may devalue God or God's creations to use them in this way. It also definitely devalues one of God's creations in particular--Us. When we use other things to buffer our statements and give them artificial power, we are admitting our lack of faith in our own words. According to Christ, if we had but the faith of a mustard seed, we could do everything he does. Not having enough faith to believe your own words isn't the way to get there, apparently.

Jesus knew, I bet, that it takes great courage to simply say "yes" or "no" and leave it at that. It requires that we honor ourselves enough to understand that our word is holy in its own way, because we are (remember?) in the image of God. But of course, if we had even that much faith to begin with, apparently we could move mountains!

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.