The Third Commandment – Q&A #7

The Third Commandment
“Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain”

Question: Is it wrong to take an oath, or swear something, in God’s name?

Answer: If you do not take your oath seriously, it would be. If you do not plan to keep a promise of any kind, it is wrong to make it. And, if you use God’s name to make an oath or promise look stronger than it is, then it is even more wrong. We read in the Bible:

“This is the thing which the Lord hath commanded. If a man vow a vow unto the Lord, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth.” (Numbers 30)

Many years later, Jesus gave us an even better idea. He taught that we should keep our spoken words simple and direct, and our character worthy of trust. Then, we would not need to make oaths in God’s name. We will do whatever it is our reponsibility to do. No oaths or promises would be needed:

“Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for
it is God’s throne . . . Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay; for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.” (Matthew 5)

Practice: Promise yourself to keep your promises! Did you promise your Mom you would clean your room? Your motto: “A promise made is a promise kept.”

* * *

(Excerpted from “First Lessons in Christian Science, Volume One: The Ten Commandments”
Copyright 2001)

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Third - Q&A #7

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