Posted by: bshelley | January 6, 2009

Let your statement be yes or no


Today’s Verse: Matthew 5:37 But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no; anything beyond these is evil. NASB

When was the last time that you swore on the head of your goat? For most of us has been a while, if ever. But, have you ever felt it necessary to add the words “honestly” or “let me be perfectly frank”, or “really, I swear”? Jesus is not commanding a moratorium on swearing and oaths, there are examples in scripture of He and God swearing oaths, and so to push oaths as intrinsically evil would make God inconsistent, which simply is not true. So what is being said here for us? The Jews had come up with a ridiculous list of swearing of oaths which had increasing performance criteria attached to them. They would swear on thin on the gold on the Temple which was either more or less binding than an oath sworn on the Temple. If they swore on the heads of their children, that was expected to be more trustworthy that an oath simply sworn on their camel’s head and so on. Jesus said “enough”. Just let your words be trust worthy. He said, if you say “yes”, simply mean “yes”. If you are not parsing words or trying to be crafty like we see all too often in politicians, your “no” should be the end of the matter. If you need time to think about something before saying yes or no, say so. Give a maybe until you are ready. Once you say yes or no, that should be the end of the matter. Honest and trustworthy people are harder to come by these days. As Christ’s disciples we are to be people of the “word” and people who keep our word.

May God bless your heart as you seek His.



  1. Your article made me think, Bryan. Do you notice that those who take an oath or swear to tell the truth lie just as easily as if they hadn’t?

    There’s really not too many now who respect the truth. People don’t just lie, they get to the point of stretching it so far as to make themselves believe it. Is it any wonder the deceiver of the world does not have a big problem blinding people to the truth of Jesus Christ? So sad.

  2. “In God we make our boast all day long” – Psalm 44:8

    Thanks for your thoughts!


  3. Marianne, I agree. In fact, when someone begins swearing the truth it tends to make me more wary. I have caught myself as a preacher using the phrase, “Let me be perfectly honest”. Well, what else should I be and why would I perceive the need to announce it? Obviously, what I meant was a moment of a bit more transparency, not honsety, but I have to watch my words a bit more closely. God bless.

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