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Briefing: Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs) can be a crude, rude, socially unacceptable group. If you are surprised by this, then I am glad. I have been around LEOs most of my life and I can tell you from my experience that we can make sailors blush.

Dispatch (Assignment): Make two lists of curse words. The first list should be words that are considered acceptable and the second list should be the really bad words. These are the words that if your mother heard you say them she would wash your mouth out with soap.

On the Street: Have you ever taken an oath? If you are a LEO then the answer to this question is yes. We take oaths when we receive our commission or warrant of appointment. Some of us even have to testify in court which requires an oath to tell the truth.

In Jesus’ time people also took oaths. They would use an oath to swear. Oaths that made use of God’s name were considered binding. For fear of not being able to keep a promise, a person might swear by something less than God’s name, Jerusalem or earth. Jesus totally rejected this practice.

Jesus tells us not to swear by anything. Not only that, but He tells us not to use any expletives. Jesus says that it is not the column that the word comes from but the intent in which you use it. I could call someone a socially unacceptable name or a jerk. The word is not the issue. The issue is the amount of hate and anger in my heart that I am venting toward a person.

Jesus says in verse thirty-seven, “Simply let your yes be yes and your no, no, anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” Jesus puts forth a simple truth; if you always tell the truth you never have to use oaths to convince anyone that you are speaking the truth.

Highlights from this Read: Oaths, in this instance, seem to be prideful arrogant speech. There is power in the spoken word as explained in James chapter three. The tongue has the power of life and death in it.

Numbers 30:1-2 says that God holds us to the vows we make to Him. We better be sure we can keep our word.

Verse thirty-seven says, “anything else”. That means any slang words or expressions of disgust. I am guilty of this.

Investigational Resources: To read more about what Jesus says about our speech, read Matthew 12:24 and 15:1-20.

Officer Safety Principle: Don’t let your language be a stumbling block to other officers. If you have a problem conquering your speech, just take small steps and work to improve day by day.

from The Gospel of Matthew Through the Eyes of a Cop
©by Charles Gilliland. Used by permission.
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