Thought for the day – Wednesday 27 May

Thought for the day - Wednesday 27 May
Dear All
Have you ever found yourself trying to convince someone about what you are saying and then find the need to offer some kind of ‘guarantee’ that you’re being absolutely truthful? I’m sure on occasion you’ll have felt the need to resort to your favoured oratorical incantations by way of ‘reinforcement’.
In order to reinforce our point, we say something like ‘I swear to God’, or ‘I swear on the grave of….’ and here some dearly departed relative, usually mother, is cited to convince your doubtful hearer, assuming she has actually departed of course.
When I was in Secondary school in the 90s, I……So sorry!!! that 9 is the wrong way round, we would say, ‘cross my heart and hope to die’ when quizzed about the veracity of our tales. Actually, we never used words like ‘veracity’ in school. If challenged it would sound something like ‘ya lyin bandit who ye kiddin,’ and then we would need to cross our hearts and hope to die.. I’m still here.
In court, my lawyer friends might want to correct me here, witnesses are, or were, asked to swear on the bible or take some other form of vow or affirmation to show that what they are about to say is truthful.
On some important forms that we all have to complete at times, we have to sign on the dotted line to prove that we have read, understand and agree with the terms. Our signature is the ‘reinforcement’ required of our counterparts. We will not be taken at our word. ‘Unsigned’, no deal, ‘not worth the paper it’s written on’.
Our banknotes too have promissory words written somewhere in small print to ensure the worth of the exchange, otherwise, it’s just a piece of whatever it is they’re made of these days, that’s being swapped. We all need reassurances do we not?
In our passage today Jesus is speaking in what has become known as the ‘Sermon on the Mount’. I don’t think it was actually a sermon at all but rather a compilation of the sayings of Jesus. This, however, does not in any way invalidate the authority or truth of them as they are still Jesus’ words, just not spoken at the same time. Opinions vary here.
It seems to me that so often when we hear some politicians speak, not only politicians, that it’s not the ‘overkill’ in their statements that’s the problem but the lack of the simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Jesus was saying that we should be able to speak without the need for oaths and promises and when speaking let ‘yes’ mean ‘yes’ and ‘no’ mean ‘no’. Sometimes though, all we hear is over-elaborate drivel and dodge talk. No oaths or promises, no simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
In our dealings and conversations, we do at times need to add to our ‘yes’ and ‘no’s’ by way of qualification to expand our meaning in greater detail and I think that only reasonable and sensible, so what does Jesus mean then in what he says?
Will you join me today in taking a little test? Will you try in conversation to say only ‘yes’ when you mean ‘yes’ and say only ‘no’ when you mean ‘no’? I ask this because it is perhaps ourselves we are trying to convince not others.
It’s not as easy as you think.
Today I ask you to think/meditate on these things.
God bless you!

Jim

JBoag@churchofscotland.org.uk

MATTHEW 5: 34-37

But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

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