Hearts and Needles
“Cross my heart and hope to die, stick a needle in my eye”. Ever heard that…ever said that? Have you ever “pinkie sweared” with someone? Phrases like this are used when, as children hopefully, we tried to tell someone that what we said was really, really true. I mean, if what I was saying wasn’t true, I’d take a needle in my eye. These expressions or “oaths” are meant to communicate the truthfulness of what we are saying. But why do we need to do that? We need to do that because we don’t often mean what we say or we simply tell a lie. So, we feel the need to express a greater measure of “truth” by these silly expressions. In James 5 we read a lot of great pieces of advice about how to live our lives in relation to others. In a section where James writes about compassion and patience he says this: 12 But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. But let your “Yes” be “Yes,” and your “No,” “No,” lest you fall into judgment.
I think telling the truth and keeping commitments were important to James. Hopefully we are people who don’t need hearts and needles to communicate to those we are communicating to that we are telling the truth or that we mean what we say. Do you tell the truth? Or, do you nuance the truth somewhat? Or, are you someone that has not told the truth so many times that you have to have “hearts and needles” included so people will believe you this time? I think it’s also interesting that James then goes on to write about the need to confess our sins to one another. Isn’t it true that much of our lying is done to cover up our own sin and shortfalls? It is better to confess and be forgiven than to lie. Covering up sin with lies is bad for our heart and can often lead to a feeling of having a needle stuck in our eye! Tell the truth. Be a person who keeps your commitments without the need of reinforcement. It’s important because God is a God of truth.