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Truthful (4 August)

Morning Encounter:

Read:

You know that our ancestors were told, “Don’t use the Lord’s name to make a promise unless you are going to keep it.” But I tell you not to swear by anything when you make a promise! Heaven is God’s throne, so don’t swear by heaven. The earth is God’s footstool, so don’t swear by the earth. Jerusalem is the city of the great king, so don’t swear by it. Don’t swear by your own head. You cannot make one hair white or black. When you make a promise, say only “Yes” or “No.” Anything else comes from the devil.

(Matthew 5.33-37)

Reflect:

‘Swearing an oath’ was a big deal in Jesus’ day to and added weight to a proposition or argument. This isn’t on the surface about taking God’s name in vain. It’s about truthfulness. It’s about coercion, manipulation and impressing others to control them. Jesus says this is inherently wrong because it demonstrates a lacks of respect for the dignity of other people. Therefore he advocates the simplicity of an honest ‘yes’ or ‘no’. James picks this up in his letter when says: ‘My friends, above all else, don’t take an oath. You must not swear by heaven or by earth or by anything else. “Yes” or “No” is all you need to say. If you say anything more, you will be condemned.’ (James 5.12)

Respond: 

A prayer: ‘Lord God, help my speech honour you today. Help me to speak well, with respect and love and without the need to coerce, manipulate or impress others.’

Midday Meditation:

‘In the kingdom of God we begin by putting away falsehood, but as apprentices of Jesus much more is expected of our speech. Telling the truth is a great start, but as we move further into kingdom living we begin to use our tongues to bless and encourage.’

(James Bryan Smith The Good and Beautiful Life)

Evening Reflection:

By your teachings, Lord, I am warned; by obeying them, I am greatly rewarded.
None of us know our faults. Forgive me when I sin without knowing it.
Don’t let me do wrong on purpose, Lord, or let sin have control over my life.
Then I will be innocent, and not guilty of some terrible fault.

 Let my words and my thoughts be pleasing to you, Lord, because you are my mighty rock and my protector.

(From Psalm 19)

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