As long as your JAVA app can read/write files and communicate over the internet how could it ever be "safe"? That is, it's an app just like other apps so look at, for example a game called Mine Craft.
If we were to lower the capabilities to the point nothing could possibly go wrong due to malicious coding then the language may cease to be useful.
Many folk don't need JAVA installed. Why not uninstall it and see if you really need it.
I am curious about the state, of the most recent update to Java 7. Is it affecting other Applications or Programs, other than web browsers? Is it possible this vulnerability has the ability to translate to other Applications or Programs written in Java? It only popped into my thoughts, because I know many developers use Java, to write applications and programs.
This vulnerability is of great concern to me, because I recently completed a web development course in college. I also recently purchased a new laptop, which I use strictly for school, and I would hate to lose use of it due to something like that.
Other thoughts: Does anyone have an idea, of when this vulnerability might be fully fixed? It's annoying to keep Java disabled, when it is so widely used.