“I swear”

But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King (Matt.5.34-35).

The world was taken by hit when a song titled “I swear” hit the airwaves in the 90s. It became a top of the chat for a very long time though there was no internet to promote it as it is today. It was a song about love and commitment. But is it right for the Believer to swear? Why do we swear? What are the ways we swear these days? It is clear from the above text that Jesus warns against the Believer swearing. But why?

The urge to swear could be for many reasons, one of which is the deep desire to be believed. When one is placed on oath, it is assumed that every word spoken thereafter is the truth. This happens in law court, business deals and everyday conversation. Words are representation of thoughts and intents therefore, it is important to be accepted. Also, swearing could bring closure to an argument. Sometimes, when words are plenty, they lose weight and the speaker have to evoke swearing to authenticate his stand. At other times, some people swear out of anger.

However, Jesus’ instruction is clear: do not swear! The Believers’ word isn’t just for expression of thoughts, it is an identity. It is a weapon of warfare. It is a direct reflection of his personality as a child of God. Words mean more to the believer than a means of daily conversation hence, Jesus provided a guide about conversations that could trigger the need for authentication. “When you are done speaking, the decision to believe and accept your word as true resides with the hearer. Don’t go beyond that,” Jesus seems to be saying.

But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. But let your “Yes” be “Yes,” and your “No,” “No,” lest you fall into judgment (Jam .5.12).

It is not uncommon to hear people say things, “believe me”, “I can bet this”, “To God who made me”, “Walahi”, “God is my witness”, and many other words we use to disguise swearing. The advance of it is the blood oath people take to insure their promises. All these are not to be found among the saints. Let your “Yes” be “Yes” and your “No”,. “No”, anything outside that could lead you to sin. It begins with understanding that words are powerful. Be thoughtful before speaking. A Saint’s word is a reflection of his personality.

© Olusola John.