"But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever
is more than these cometh of evil." Matthew 5:37
Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ commands His followers not to swear or make oaths but instead to give a positive or negative affirmation in accordance to their knowledge of the matter concerned on which you are called to speak.
"I saw that some of God's children have made a mistake in regard to oath taking, and Satan has taken advantage of this to oppress them, and take from them their Lord's money. I saw that the words of our Lord, 'Swear not at all,' do not touch the judicial oath. 'Let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.' This refers to common conversation. Some exaggerate in their language. Some swear by their own life; others swear by their head--as sure as they live; as sure as they have a head. Some take heaven and earth to witness that such things are so. Some hope that God will strike them out of existence if what they are saying is not true. It is this kind of common swearing against which Jesus warns His disciples." Testimonies to the Churches Vol 1 by E. G. White, page 201 par. 1.
So in common conversation we are to say what we mean. If we mean yes, say yes. If we mean no, say not. It seems rather simple or is it?
However, some people say things because they think that is what the other person wants to hear, not because it is true. Others say things that are not true to try and keep themselves out of trouble. While still other mislead by only telling part of the truth.
God's Word condemns lying :-
"Lying lips are abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight." Proverbs 12:22.
"Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;" Colossians 3:9.
"Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie." Revelation 22:14, 15.
It is clear that in common conversation we are not to swear or make oaths or lie. But what about the second part of our heading - mean what you say?
If you are in the middle of an argument with your husband/wife and you yell, "I love you!" Would it sound like you meant it? Of course not. Nor would it sound like you meant it if you said it in a sulking manner.
If you try to tell someone that you are concerned for their safety while you are laughing heartily, do you think they will believe you? Most likely not.
These are only two examples but from them you can see that even saying things in the wrong way can make it appear to be a lie.
So we need to not only speak the truth - let our yes be yes, and no be no - but we need to be careful how we say things so that we don't give the wrong impression.
© S. D. Goeldner, February, 2013. Last updated July, 2020.
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