"Above all, my brothers, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your "Yes" be yes, and your "No," no, or you will be condemned." James 5:12
I find it interesting that when a witness is sworn in by the court to testify he promises to "tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth."
Hold that thought as you take a look at our text this morning. Let's first take a look at this oath and then take a look at this verse and see how they intersect.
First, take a look at the oath. Does the oath imply that it is possible to tell a partial truth? It almost sounds like it. We know better. There is no other truth but the whole truth!
Second, by taking this truth are you conceding that you are normally a liar? It almost sounds like that. To me it sounds like when you take that oath you are in effect, saying "I normally lie but this time I am going to tell the truth."
How much confidence does that inspire?
Third, if you can choose to tell the truth sometimes then why would you not tell the truth all the time?
If you appreciate the irony of this then you can understand the point that James is making in verse 12. Remember, too, that he is giving counsel and advice to Christians. That being true you would wonder why he has to tell them not to lie.
What are we called to do within a local church?
Right, we are to love each other.
What is important to being able to love each other?
Trust and respect are foundations upon which love is built. You will find it hard to love someone you can't trust or respect. That is one reason why truth telling is essential to a healthy church. Who wants to be part of a fellowship where you can't trust one another?
So, the purpose of a legal trial in a court room is to arrive at the truth via evidence and the testimony of witnesses. Understanding that, how many lies would it take to subvert that process? Not many! Maybe one!?
The purpose of the church is to proclaim the truth through the evidence of honest living and truth telling. How many dishonest people does it take to negatively impact the testimony of a church? Not many! Maybe one.
In a court room, a false testimony could cost the life of a defendant.
In the church fellowship distorting the truth could cost an eternal soul.
When you made the decision to become a Christ-follower you committed to become a truth-teller. As a Christian you are in a personal faith relationship with Jesus - The Truth. So how can you walk in faith and not live in truth. You don't need an oath you need obedience. Seek the truth and speak the truth.
Will you walk in truth today?