Today I was "sworn in" for the first time in my life. "Do you testify that this document contains the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?" "Yes." And that was it. I am on the record. The documents were warrants for the arrests of our burglars.
This struck me on two different levels. The situation aside, it was quite a meaningful thing to give my word in such an official way. Those documents are official based on my word. It reminds me of one of Jesus' teachings: "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." (Matt. 5:36-37) Our word and our character go hand in hand. Too often, I am guilty of telling someone I will do something only to shirk off the responsibility later. Yet how good it is to tell someone "yes" and follow through! It is better to say "no" up front if we already know it is not likely that we will carry it out.
The other thing is that, at the end, the clerk said, "...so help you God". Now, I realize that God permeates, to the chagrin of some, the legal language of our nation, but the wording still gave me pause. The Old Testament is full of people who, when giving their word, would say, "May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if I [fail to do what I have promised you]." These people were willing stake personal chastisement from the Lord on the keeping of their word. This is something like our "so help you God," I think.
The point is, as good as it feels to give my word in such an "official" way, my word should always be official. Here is where I need work, so help me God. Help me to let my "yes" be "yes" and my "no" be "no." Anything more (or less) is of the evil one.