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Dear Preacher Render your heart, and not your garments What does the Bible mean when it states, “Rend your heart and not your garments”? Dear Reader, The Bible states, “Rend your heart and not your garments”. Joel 2;13 states, “And rend your hearts and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness …” There was the practice of showing grief and sorrow by tearing one’s garments. However the Bible is saying that the tearing of garments might just be an outward, meaningless show. Instead we needed to display a changed and a contrite heart along with a grief and a repentance that came from within and were genuine. In Jamaican tradition, the misquote, “Render your heart and not your garments” usually is a reference to persons who claim that it is not what you wear to church that is important but the giving of your heart to God. In a paradoxical way, the misquote captures the essence of the Biblical injunction because both are stating that it is not the outward that is primary, but what comes from the heart. In other words, the heart of the matter is the matter of the heart. Can Christians take an oath? Is it right for a Christian to take an oath? Dear Reader, Matthew 5:34-36 states, “Swear not at all, neither by heaven, for ‘tis the God’s throne, nor by earth, for ‘tis God’s footstool, nor by Jerusalem, for ‘tis the city of the Great King, nor by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. There are some Christians who believe that it conclusively precludes any swearing. Christians ought to let their yea be yea and their nay be nay. The utterances of Christians should be believable under all circumstances. To the best of the Christians ability, he or she must present the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Human relationship must be based on trust and the use of an oath is already a sign of doubt of that person being honourable. So, whenever they are required to make an oath they instead make an affirmation. However there are other Christians who believe that the command is against profane swearing. That would include cursing and taking oaths frivolously or falsely. Also there was a prohibition against taking the Lord’s name in vain where one would be claiming to speak the truth and then proceed to lying. They, therefore, believed that one could take judicial oaths. The choice is yours. Email your questions to: bbcemagazine@gmail.com


Biblical interpretations - Dear Preacher