Jesus said, “Do not swear an oath at all”

Scripture: Again, ye 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, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, you cannot make even one hair white or black, all you need to say is simply, ‘Yes or No’, anything beyond this comes from the evil one” (Matthew 5:33-37 NIV).

My Friends,

To my utter surprise during Jesus Christ’s sermon on the mount is sandwiched his command not to make oaths (solemn promises). He said that all we need to say is yes or no. Anything else is of the evil one (satan). During earlier times we were taught that we were accountable for making promises and not keeping them, which created much fear among true christians who wanted to believe and accept all of the teachings of their elders.

Several years ago, I made a vow not to patronize a certain restaurant chain due to a decision their owners made which made me angry. So, I decided to “punish them” by my refusal to purchase or eat any of their foods. It was one of my favorite restaurants, also.

One day, a dear friend of mine, chose to surprise me by bringing us lunch purchased from one of their restaurants. I was quite hungry. Previously, I had not discussed my vow with her or anyone else except God. She came in smiling, handed me my bag which held my food and proceeded to sit and eat hers. Well, I was torn between two choices: 1) reveal my vow to her, even though I felt that all vows were to be considered secret between God and the person making the vow only or 2) explain to her my plight by breaking my silence and refuse to eat. She kept eating and asking me why I was not eating. I finally chose to eat, which was the easy way out, since I was quite hungry and not divulge my secret which was not the correct answer, either.

However, ever since that day, I have been carrying that burden of guilt while often begging God to forgive me for breaking my vow as I had been previously taught. However, this writer feels that because Jesus Christ instructed us from his sermon on the mount not to make vows in the first place because they are of the evil one, it gave me a feeling of relief and release which helped me to continue not to feel as guilty, at least not as much as in the past. But sometimes…

Please continue to pray for me and I for you and yours to have a blessed New Year and for me to accept God’s forgiveness.

Jacquelyn Simmons