“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” (James 5:12).
In four of the five chapters of his epistle, the prophet James addresses various matters relative to the tongue. His words include: “If anyone among you thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless…the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell…But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison…Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge” (James 1:26; 3:6, 8; 4:11).
James’ final counsel on the tongue is in 5:12. Here, it is again clear that a profane tongue is unbecoming of a holy person. All speech which fails to esteem sacred things with careful reverence is to be banished from your mind and mouth.
If you do not think yourself obligated to your word unless you have placed yourself under an oath, you are grossly lacking in integrity. It is only those who are not people of integrity who feel the need to whitewash this fact behind a covering of frivolous oaths.
Frivolous oaths and profane speech are telltale indicators of someone who lacks integrity.
Beware of a profane tongue.