I usually write these posts as I learn something, or once I have been putting what I have learned into action, and seeing the results. This was I can encourage others when the lesson is still fresh in my mind. This post is different. This time I want to know what you think (although I do always welcome your thoughts and comments). My wife and I have both recently been in situations that have called for some ‘uncommon’ actions on our part. We believe that we have done what is biblically correct, but I’m not 100% sure yet, so I would like to see what all of you think.
My wife became a British citizen as I was already a British citizen, and after some time living in the UK, she became eligible to become British. There was a ceremony to swear allegiance to the Queen. Naturally, they ask you what religion you would classify yourself as, and they pull out the respective ‘holy’ book (Bible, Qur’an, Torah etc). They then proceed to ask you to swear allegiance on the ‘holy’ book of your choice.
Before I explain what my wife did, let me tell you about my story. I recently went to court as a witness in a case. Other than being quite intimidating, I found the whole experience quite fascinating. Again, they asked my which religion I belonged to. I resisted the urge to explain that it is not a religion, but a faith and relationship with the risen Lord, and gave them my answer. They then pulled out a Bible and asked me to swear on it that I will tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
My wife and I both gave the same answer. “No, we won’t swear on the Bible”.
Fortunately for us, we live in such a ‘politically-correct’ society, that they had an alternative ‘swearing in’ process for ‘non-religious’ people. No mention of God, you just promise to uphold the British law, or to tell the truth. We opted for that option. Why?
Jesus said this in Matthew Chapter 5 – Teaching about Vows
33 “You have also heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not break your vows; you must carry out the vows you make to the Lord.’34 But I say, do not make any vows! Do not say, ‘By heaven!’ because heaven is God’s throne.35 And do not say, ‘By the earth!’ because the earth is his footstool. And do not say, ‘By Jerusalem!’ for Jerusalem is the city of the great King. 36 Do not even say, ‘By my head!’ for you can’t turn one hair white or black. 37 Just say a simple, ‘Yes, I will,’ or ‘No, I won’t.’ Anything beyond this is from the evil one.
This seems pretty clear to me. I don’t understand how people could have been swearing on the Bible for so many years, without someone questioning this. Have I misunderstood this passage? I have looked it up in various translations, and some are even clearer than this (NLT). I know that some people say silly things like, “I swear on my children’s lives”, and other really stupid things like that. I would definitely say that that is covered by this verse, but were our situations? It seems odd that the courts would ask someone who believes a Book, to swear on that Book, when the Book they believe in tells them not to.
I am interested to hear your views. Have you thought about this? What would you do if asked to take an oath? Let me know, comment below or on the social media posts.
By the way, if you are swearing on your children’s lives (or anything else like that), word of advice. Stop.