June 24th, 2007

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Oaths Matt. 5:33-37

Sunday, June 24th, 2007

There is a tradition within ethics called “mental reservation”. It allows a person to make a statement which is technically true in such a way that one knows his hearer will draw a misleading conclusion for it. This tradition justifies the speaker because he has not lied directly. This text suggests to me that this is not approved by Jesus. Think about Jesus and his responses to questions when he was being tried by the Sanhedrin and again by Pilate. He either answered truthfully or refused to answer. It cost him his life, but he did not sin.

In the arena of relationships, the topics we have just been looking at, turth telling is crucial. Relationships are normally built on trust and truthfulness is the foundation of trust. If someone is not truthful with another, then there is no trust and a relationship stalls, falls apart, or experiences more and more deception.

Jesus seems to be insisting that we be so truthful, that no one will question our integrity. Personally, I now worry about those who lie and then pass it off by declaring, “I was just kidding”, when confronted by another. It seems to me that Jesus provides good advice here.