As James brings his letter to a close, he insists that we watch out for one another, care for one another. We are a redeemed and redeeming community. And as James introduces the end of his letter, he sets the most important thing first. “Above all,” he says, we must speak truth in love.
Throughout history, some have thought this verse prohibited all oath taking. But oaths have always had a place in the administration of justice, and God is glorified in proper oath-taking in his name. The problem arises when our integrity is so low that we feel the need to add oaths to our words. And it exacerbated when we use oaths as a cloak for dishonesty.
Without honesty, we cannot hold one another accountable. And without honesty, we cannot mend the ruptures and rifts that develop within the body.