I found this image at LIFE magazine online. It's the swearing in of General Dolliere, the U.N. delegate to Rwanda during the '94 genocide, and Don Cheadle, and actor involved in the movie Hotel Rwanda.
Not only does the image procure thoughts of the worst human disaster the planet has ever seen, it fits quite nicely in my series on Matthew 5. (Tonight we'll be at The Matthew's House for our Youth event called 2Deep.)
We're on Matthew 33-36, "Again, you have heard
that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not break your oath, but
keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.' But I tell you, Do not swear 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. Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one."
It's kind of odd that Jesus would be talking about Lust, Divorce, and then, "Oh yea, Don't swear."
Unless of course, you know the history of the oath.
The Old Testament culture was built on the foundations of oaths and contracts. The BIble talks about it in several places where the words of a man actually solidify His motives. Contracts were sealed with a 'Yes' and a 'No.' And thus a society was able to function in real time.
Jesus was pointing out to the Pharisees there obvious betrayal of the truth. They were telling the people to live one way, and then living quite another in their own lives. It was the classic hypocrisy of the church most people, even today, were sick of. We want authentic real people who live with us, not at us. We want pastors and teachers to communicate God's Word honestly.
I believe in order for us to live in a culture rid of dis-honest religion, we've got to first begin with the dishonesty in our own hearts. We've got to realize our own deviance from truth, and commit to a world where truth has value again. Just like a contract.
Unfortunately in our world, even a contract on a page is only good if both parties execute like it says. There are so many people who wiggle out of their own words simply because it seems easier to do it a different way. Jesus calls us to a different life.
Let your Yes be Yes, and your No be No. For out of a man's mouth his heart truly speaks.