Introductory Prayer: I come before you today, Lord, to learn to imitate your example. You want me to learn an important lesson: the value of the virtue of sincerity. You are the teacher. I want to learn in your school. I want to be one of your disciples. I want to be a better Christian. I need your grace to achieve this.
Petition: Lord, help us to “speak the truth to one another, since we are all members of one another” (Ephesians 4:25).
1. So Help Me, God! An oath is a solemn invocation of God to witness the truth of what one asserts to be the case or the sincerity of one’s undertakings in regard to future actions. Some Christians (Quakers, Baptists, and Mennonites, among others) have construed these texts as constituting an absolute prohibition against the swearing of oaths. However, most Christians have acknowledged the importance and appropriateness of oath-taking on occasions of great importance. We see the President take an oath of office; we see men and women of the military swear an oath to faithfully serve and defend our country; we see people who take the stand in a courtroom place their hand on the Bible, raise their right hand, and take an oath that they will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth … and they end by saying, “So help me, God.” All of the above are calling on God to help them be true to their word because what they are swearing to do is a humanly difficult task, one which needs divine assistance in order to remain true.
2. Base Your Mutual Relationships on Truth. The Law of Moses absolutely prohibited perjury or violation of oaths. In Christ’s time, the making of sworn statements was so frequent and the casuistry surrounding them so intricate that the practice was being grossly abused. All this meant great disrespect for the name of God. Jesus lays down here the criterion that his disciples must apply in their lives. It is based on re-establishing mutual trust, nobility and sincerity. The devil is “the father of lies” (John 8:44). Therefore, Christ’s Church must teach that human relationships cannot be based on deceit and insincerity. God is truth, and the children of the Kingdom must, therefore, base mutual relationships on truth. Jesus consistently condemned hypocrisy in his teachings, and he praised sincerity as one of the finest of virtues: “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!” (spoken of Nathanael, John 1:47).
3. Anything More Is from the Evil One. Would it be reading too much into the words of Our Lord — to simply say “yes” if we mean yes, and “no” if we mean no — to apply them to the origins and intentions of lying in our lives Jesus affirms that anything obscuring what we ought to say, or anything meant to mislead, cover up or falsify by false emphasis, “comes from the Evil One” He shows us that insincerity is how political and economic life become and remain alienated from truth, become destructive of the kingdom of God, of the kingdom of him who was, and remains, “a sign that is spoken against” (Luke 2:34).
Dialogue with Christ: Lord Jesus, who do I think I am fooling with all my lies, half-truths, cheating and deceptive answers? You see it all, Lord, and you read my heart. You look on in sorrow as I allow myself to play by the rules of the Evil One. I’m through flirting with the darkness. From now on, I’m going to live in such a way that I have nothing to hide from anyone, especially from my family — which will eliminate the temptation to lie right at its root. I re-commit myself to living in the light, doing away with all falsehood. From now on, my “yes” will be yes, and my “no” will be no.
Resolution: I will start today repairing any relationship — especially my relationship with my spouse — which may have been harmed through a lack of truthfulness and sincerity.