Is it ever Ok for a Christian to go beyond yes or no when conversing and being asked to do something? Today we shall look at something that must be answered to each of us. As well as the kickback argument I got in return. Setting the stage now:
“You PROMISED you were going to mow the lawn today..” “No, I did not, nor do I even use the term promise much less the concept of it.” “Yeah, because your word means nothing to you.” “Not so. Because the Bible is clearly against such a concept.” “Show me a verse in the Bible then where it says not to make promises!”
Needless to say, when given chapter and verse to the individual in question, I was still told I was wrong, or misinterpreting it. I did NOT mow the lawn that day, because it had rained, and I didn’t feel like mowing a bunch of wheel ruts into the front yard. But regardless, there was no pleasing the individual at hand on that. However, let us proceed.
But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil. ~ Matthew 5:37
In context, it also is speaking specifically to an oath. However, the concept of a promise is almost the same thing. Regardless, the words of Christ are specific. The kickback response though, was this: “So, God makes alot of promises. Is He evil?”
Halt that pathetic logic right there, ye hasty witted blossom. Using that logic, let us look at the Old Testament. Thou shalt Not Kill. One of the Ten Commandments. He ordered genocide at least 4 times. Does that make Him evil? Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. He told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac when He didn’t actually want him to. Is He evil? Then for a superbly touchy thing. The Sabbath. A day of Rest, as stated to be by God Himself. To do no work. To gather no food, to cook nothing, to rest spiritually and physically. And yet, Jesus said that it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath. In other words, if Mr. Morrison needs help on your God ordained day of rest, but you choose to do nothing because it is the Sabbath? You just sinned. Without breaking the Letter of the Law, it is true. But by ignoring the Spirit of the Law. See, it is possible to sin WITHOUT breaking the Law of God. Something people are seeming to not understand in this modern era.
Back to going beyond a basic answer: Jesus covered oaths in that passage. He said not to swear them at all, but then, in keeping with His traditional method of teaching, He said not to even say more than a yes or a no. Other examples of this type of teaching by Christ, “You have heard it said, do not commit adultery, but I say unto you, any one who even looks at a woman with lust in his eyes has already committed the act.” In other words. It boils down to a heart and mind issue.
Because it came up on the Oaths side of things, I was told that an Oath is not ok, because that is swearing upon a power greater than yourself. But that a promise is not, because it doesn’t. So now I will cover that. Committing yourself with a promise, is swearing by your own power. God made it clear in scriptures that we aren’t supposed to even do that. What we are supposed to do is rely on God in everything. Proverbs states it exquisitely: Trust in the Lord with all your Heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.
Quite frankly, had I mowed the lawn yesterday under my own power to do so and ruined the front yard, How would anything have been better? On another point of reference, God hasn’t given me power over the weather. He does let me see what’s going to happen sometimes, as a result of something that has happened, but that is neither here nor there. Do not ask for a verse that is plainspoken and straightforward, and then get mad at me for providing it. Don’t tell me that I’m interpreting it wrong when I take the words of Jesus literally when He meant them literally. There is nothing there to interpret. However, if I were to interpret them, then I would still be right on this matter. There are three types of interpretation in the ancient celtic community, but I’m going to focus on the first two. Firstly, there is the Grounded interpretation: As God first wrote to us using the medium of the physical world and creation all around us, it is actually incredibly safe to say that a physically grounded interpretation of the Word is one way to go. This is a literal interpretation style. Because we are beings residing in the physical world, that is one way we get to interpret it, through the physically written Word of God.
Second, there is the symbolic interpretation style. We are forbidden from swearing an oath upon the heavens, or the earth, or even at all, but then Jesus even says not to say more than a yes or a no. Symbolically what does this mean? Looking back at that passage, if we swear upon heaven or earth, we are swearing by a power greater than ourselves. So if a promise is to swear based upon our own power, or to swear upon ourselves, then that would be to go beyond a yes or a no. All things begin and end in the Otherworld.