Commentaries
English
Matthew
  
c) Forbidding Oaths Signifies Telling the Truth
(Matthew 5:33-37)
33Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.34But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne;35nor by the earth, for it is his footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.36Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black.37But let your Yes be Yes, and your No, No. For whatever is more than these is from the evil one. (Leviticus19:12; Numbers30:3; Matthew23:16-22; James5:12)


The world overflows from lying, deception and exaggeration. Every man flatters the other. Students cheat in their exams. The germs of deception and cheating penetrate into the areas of commerce, politics and different aspects of social life. The greatest deception is that people swear by God for their devious lying, due to the sense of weakness in their statements. Hasty swearing often indicates hidden lying.
Some people pretend that they are clever and that their ideas are undoubtedly right, but God alone knows every secret. He is the Omniscient One and aware of our intents and of the real reasons for our actions. Our knowledge is not perfect but limited, and our judgments are not always sound. Without God’s help, our knowledge and judgments are as far removed from God’s as heaven is from our world.
It is difficult to know one’s attitude or words even though they were supported by an oath. We have to admit that sometimes we do not know the truth. Then we will listen to others’ views and get ready to learn from friends, even from the simple minded and their positive experiences, knowing that we all are useless servants (Luke 17:10). A proud person or a fanatic swears since he dreams that he is sure of himself; but a believer does not trust in himself but in his Savior, the Lord.
The Holy Spirit teaches us to always tell the truth humbly and without exaggeration; and guides us to glorify and honor God. Here we find the initial difference between the liar and ourselves. They appear proud, longing for celebrity, just like their wicked father, Satan, who cheated himself imagining himself as great; while we, in Christ, humble ourselves, confessing our weakness and sins and cling to God’s salvation and grace, seeking His guidance.
Jesus has freed us from serving persons of distinction and guides us to serve everyone in truth. Love without truth is lying. Similarly, truth without love can be like killing. Let us exercise love based on truth and offer God’s truth in the wisdom of love.
Christ, alone, is able to save us from every lie and exaggeration. He who enters His school of the divine truth learns to reject lies, even “white lies,” and not to take the name of God in vain. We should learn to honor Him with straight testimonies, that our tongue might become true and our conscience holy, for we are not the children of the father of lies, but of the Father of truth. We should not speak more then necessary, and when we have to speak, it should be short and clear and in the wisdom of the Holy Spirit.

Prayer
O Heavenly Father, our tongues often tell lies. Please burn every exaggeration, every twisting and every lie out of them. Teach us humbleness that we may become true in Your Holy Spirit. Illuminate us that we may know the truth. Guide us to the truth and fill us in Your name, for You are the truth, that we may become true in our intents and thoughts and walk in truth, rightness and justice. Let the Spirit of Truth reign in our thoughts and words.
Question
How can we become true in speech, actions and behavior?