Biblical Illuminations
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Swearing Oaths, and the Hair Of Your Head

Posted by Douglas Twitchell on Feb 13, 2006
Lately I've been discovering gray hairs here and there throughout my gotee. The teens in my youth group tell me it's a sign of how old and decrepit I'm getting. They're so kind.
In reality, having gray hairs doesn't really bother me from an aesthetic point of view; I've always thought that beards which have a mixture of gray and dark look very distinguished. I'm certainly not one who feels the need to color my hair in order to continue feeling (or looking) young.

But the thing I hate about my gray hairs is that those hairs are a different texture from the rest of my gotee. When I'm trimming, the dark hairs all get trimmed, and the gray hairs all say to the razor, "Ha ha, you can't get me!" So I end up with thousands of short black hairs and a few gray hairs that keep getting longer and longer.

And there's nothing I can do about it.

Jesus actually had something to say about the color of your hair; in the Sermon on the Mount, in Matthew 5:36 he told his followers, "And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black" In essence, He is saying, "Don't swear by something you have no control over; it is a completely meaningless oath to swear."

But He doesn't stop there; He tells us not to swear any oaths at all! He explains that we must be so completely honest that we develop a reputation for truthtelling, and we never have to swear any oaths at all. "Let your 'yes' be 'yes' and your 'no' be 'no'," he says.

I may not be able to control the color of my beard, but what I do with my character, my integrity, is entirely in my court. The choice is up to me.

Of course, on a related note, it's interested to see that the Three Little Pigs in the old fairy tale disobeyed this command of Christ when they said, "Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin!" That is, after all, an oath sworn on the hair of their heads!

Where to Go from Here...

Read more: Integrity, Promises
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