Keep It Simple
I don’t know if you have noticed, but we have a bit of an integrity problem in our world. Sometimes people are bold in their betrayal of pursuing truth, in their abandonment to keeping their word. At other times we can be sneakier, subtler, looking for integrity loopholes to justify our actions. Most of us as kids employed a well-known integrity loophole growing up. You can say you are going to do something, make strong commitments too, but if you have your fingers crossed, it doesn’t count. It’s absurd if you think about it, but the absurdity didn’t stop kids from using the tactic.
People in Jesus’ day were also playing fast and loose with integrity loopholes when it came to making and keeping vows, and some religious leaders seemed to be leading the way. They would swear on all kinds of things to make the legitimacy of their vow seem more impressive and trustworthy. They would swear by heaven, or the throne in heaven. They would swear by the temple or by the throne in the temple. On and on it went.
Yet frequently it was a game, a set up. People had their hand on the escape hatch, just waiting to back out of their agreement based on some technicality of why their oath didn’t really count. Jesus sought to cut out the tricks and get back to being a people of truth. Stop with the empty promises. Quit making oaths you have no intention of keeping. Become a person of integrity. Consistently be a person so true to your word that all it takes is a simple “yes” or “no” and people will know they can count on you.