“Do not swear at all.” Matthew 5:34
- Swear not by the creatures. That, in effect, is swearing by their Maker.
- Neither swear by your Maker, unless called to it by authority for putting an end to strife.
- Swear not falsely. Calling the God of truth to witness a lie.
- Swear not needlessly or rashly, as Saul did (1 Samuel 14:39). Such oaths or vows are ensnaring.
- Swear not idle, common oaths, such as, “O Christ!” “O God!” “Faith or truth!” “By my soul!” “As I live!” “God bless me!”
We must give account for every idle word, much more for every idle oath, and most of all for horrible blasphemy that profanes God’s name and is the very language of Hell. As for him who is guilty of perjury, he not only harms his own soul but seeks to ruin his neighbor by perverting justice and robbing the innocent of his right. Sometimes God takes a false swearer and self-curser at his word and strikes him dead on the spot. Sometimes He says, “Let him alone!” — terrible judgment indeed.
Lord, help the guilty to repent of their sin and help all to watch and pray against it. My soul, let your yes be yes and your no be no, as your Lord commands you.
Devotion by Karl Heinrich von Bogatzky (1690—1774)
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