Petition: Lord, help me to be honest and sincere in my dealings with others.
- 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. 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.
- Base Your Mutual Relationships on Truth: 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). Do I eschew any form of hypocrisy in my life?
- Anything More Is from the Evil One: Would it be reading too much into the words of Our Lord — to say simply “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). Am I honest with my family members and work colleagues?
Resolution: I will start today by seeking to patch up any relationship — especially my relationship with my spouse — which may have been harmed through a lack of truthfulness and sincerity.