Words from the Heart for Saturday May 2nd, 2020
Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’ But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool…
Matthew 5:33-35 (NIV)
In Canada, a witness in a trial may swear an oath on the holy book that binds their conscience. Courthouses are equipped with Bibles and may have other books of faith. People whose consciences are bound by a holy book other than the Bible may swear an oath on that book or they may affirm – make a non-religious promise to tell the truth. If a special oath will be required, the Court Registry should be notified at least two weeks in advance so the Court Clerk can be prepared and obtain the trial judge’s authorization to administer it.
Honesty is held in such high regard in our society that if you don’t tell the truth in court, if you stretch the truth, smudge the truth, or tell an outright lie, you will be charged with perjury and will likely spend some time behind bars. But because our courts recognize that human beings have a proclivity to sin, a witness must swear an oath before taking the stand. So why does Jesus say what he says in Matthew 5:33-35: “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’ But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool…” Jesus was speaking to His followers here. His expectation for us is that because we have been redeemed and our hearts have been changed, we will be honest in all our dealings. So honest, in fact, that even those who are not believers will trust us so much that we will not need to swear an oath to be trusted.
These have been words from the heart.