St. Matthew 5: 27 – 37

March 13, 2022

27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:

28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

30 And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

31 It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:

32 But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.

33 Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths:

34 But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne:

35 Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.

36 Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.

37 But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.

Embellishment. Everyone likes a good story. The problem comes when it’s not explained that it is a story, but spoken as if it were truth. Again we’re looking at what comes out of our mouths – which, we’ve already been taught, can be the unmaking of us because it can defile us.

There are simple answers to some questions – a ‘simple’ yes or no will do. ‘Simple’ implies nothing complex, something that is easily understandable. But people hear, think, and understand in different ways so perhaps there are no simple questions and answers.

When I was in college, I took a business law class that really taught me something important. It’s called a ‘brief’. That’s exactly what it is – a brief telling of the issue that is presented in court. It includes the names of the people involved in the case, a statement in regard to the matter that brings the case before the court (‘what happened’ – the things that transpired). This is the case in a nut shell. Before all the circumstances and influences and colorations of behavior, the brief explains what happened. Later, other details come out (all the exciting action you see in tv court programs), but the law brief is ‘what happened’. As an exercise in writing a brief, we were given several cases to choose from and we were to write a brief for our selection. We got a whole bunch of information from various sources and we had to cull the brief from all that. I must have rewritten my brief ten times. How to shade out what isn’t important; it’s a difficult task. You see two cars collide – how do you tell what happened? You lay out a story as you saw it. In amongst the details you’ve included are the nuts and bolts of what actually happened. The brief.

It’s the ‘story’ part we’re to watch out for. Be simple. Be direct. Focus your thoughts before you speak so that you can be sure that what you’re saying is the brief. Don’t embellish, don’t enhance, don’t add things that aren’t necessary to clear understanding. Mind your tongue. Think brief.

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