Thursday, February 13, 2014

Above all?

I have the coolest app on my tablet.  It is called "audio books". It connects to a free public domain audio book website called Librivox has a collection of wonderful classics that are read by volunteers all over the world, one of which is the bible.  I am more of an audio learner than a visual one so listening to scripture can do me more good sometimes than reading it.  It's awesome because you can download whole books and then listen to them while you travel. 

So this morning I was listening to James and chapter 5 verse 2 caught my attention.  "But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by the heaven, nor by the earth, nor by any other oath: but let your yea be yea, and your nay, nay; that ye fall not under judgement." I believe the Bible to be a very short book considering it is God's message to us.  I believe that everything in it is important, even the most boring of parts.  I believe that there are many passages and concepts that require great wrestling because they are "hard sayings".  I believe that when it says, "above all" it must really be important.  Here it is, wake up! Here is the most important thing I James am inspired to say to you.  "Do not swear" really???  What makes that important?

I don't believe it means, "Do not say the current offensive words in our vocabulary."  Though I don't believe vulgarity is gentle, kind or loving, swearing in this context is making an oath.  which is way different that having a foul tongue.

So God why is this important? Hmmm The thing that comes to mind for me are all the oaths or promises we make to ourselves like, "I will never let that happen to me again!" or, "I will show him!" In working with women who struggle to get free from past abuses,  I have seen that the vows that are made in response to pain can lead to debilitating lives. It's a trenching in and vying for control but it leads to becoming the very thing that we hate.  If we run from pain, we are manipulated by our fear.  Trenching in is a fear response.  It may feel like standing up but it is really climbing upon the backs of another in order to get out of the muck. 

Letting our yes be yes and our no, no in my mind is a form of being still and simply being.  No pretense, no agenda for anyone else, just breathing and living outside of fear.  That is much harder than it sounds sometimes. :)

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