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Thursday, February 25, 2010



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[February 25, 2010]   --Let your word be 'Yes, Yes' or 'No, No'; anything more than this come from the evil one.-'Matthew 5:37

In this excerpt from Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is condemning the practice of making oaths. All of us have, at times, tried to buttress our words with external claims like, "I swear," or, "No, I really mean it," or, "I swear to God." You get the idea. And what Jesus is saying is that this is actually a fairly dangerous spiritual practice. Why? Jesus holds his followers to a high standard for behavior and he wants everyone to be certain of one thing when they are speaking with one of his disciples; that they are telling the truth. What does it say about other claims we have made if we add oaths to some comments but not to others? It causes all our claims to become questionable. But there is more.

As Jesus' disciples we are supposed to be truth tellers...always. One of our primary tasks is to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ and how can we do that with integrity if lied about eating the last donut in the workroom or massaged the truth to escape trouble at home or some such thing? If our words are out of sync with our actions then so too will any proclamation we offer be out of sync with the work of Jesus Christ. Truth telling is a vital Christian practice and it is this practice that Jesus is attempting to reclaim and rebuild. So, if you are still looking for a lenten discipline try simply telling the truth for 40 days. All of us could get better at that one.

Prayer: Holy God, you always speak the truth. Help me to do the same. I want to be honest in all my relationships so I can testify to your greatness with integrity. I pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

[text from file received from Phil Blackburn, First Presbyterian Church]

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