Matthew – Day 34 – I Promise
lease begin by reading the Shema out loud and continue trying to memorize it.
“Hear, O Israel. The LORD is our God. The LORD alone. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Amen.”
Also, recite The Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12).
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Today we examine a new level of truthfulness. Jesus continued explaining the commands in Matthew 5:33-37 (out loud).
What is an oath? It is a public request for God to be the witness of a statement to verify whether it is true or false. Why would Jesus be concerned with an oath that uses God as the witness to a statement?
The reason is that the oath is proof that lies exist. If we, as humans, could not lie, then there would be no need for oaths. So, by having oaths, we basically have different levels of truthfulness. The Jewish Bible introduced the idea of oaths in order to reject lying, but instead, people used oaths as a proof of truth – and all other statements made without oaths did not have to be true.
Read Numbers 30:2 (out loud) to see how seriously God took oaths in the Old Testament.
If you took an oath promising to do something, you were required by God to fulfill that statement. This definitely makes a point that we need to be careful what we pledge or promise to do.
Jesus again explained that truthfulness is a matter of the heart. The tongue of a disciple of Christ should not speak things that are not true just because they are not under oath. As disciples of Christ, we are expected to speak truth every time we speak. Jesus said, “Let your word be ‘Yes, Yes’ or ‘No, No.’”
This does not release us as Jesus’ disciples from the responsibility of speaking truth in front of God. It reminds us that every word we speak is said in front of God – and is basically an oath – because God is our witness. Therefore, we, as Christ’s disciples, should not swear to show something is true because we have spoken it before God. There is no such thing as speech that is not spoken before God.
Everything we say should be truth – and nothing should require an oath to prove it is true.
Try to pay attention to your words. You will be amazed at how we have gotten into the habit of lying.
Do you speak truth? Do you tell “little white lies” to stay out of trouble or to get out of something that you don’t want to do? Do you exaggerate to get attention? Do you fill in the gaps when you don’t know all of the details?
Try speaking only the truth. It is amazing how much quieter you get. Think before you talk – and let your “yes” be “yes” and your “no” be “no” – because God is your witness.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer Discipleship