“That’s a piecrust promise. Easily made. Easily broken.” – Mary Poppins
How often do you make promises you can’t keep? How often do you tell someone you’re going to do something but you don’t really mean it? How do you feel when other people do that to you?
It’s really easy in this day and age to tell people you’re going to do something, but you don’t actually do it. Maybe you forgot you made that promise, maybe you never intended on doing it in the first place. I mean one of the biggest things people do all the time is say they’re going to pray for you but it’s more out of courtesy than actually meaning it.
Why do we make promises we know we’re not going to keep? Is it to be polite? Is it to make ourselves look good? Is it to get out of situation and buy some time? Do you find yourself being pressured to making promises when caught off guard?
On the other hand, how should we hold accountability to those who make promises? Whose responsibility is it to follow up? Is the other person lying when they say they’re going to do something but don’t follow through? Do you just hope that the other person forgot about it and never bring it up again in hopes that it will just get swept under a rug and you can be like “whew! i got away with that! I’m never doing that again!”?
Personally I don’t know. I know I get frustrated when this happens to me. Especially when I know sometimes these people will actually keep their promises to other people but won’t for me. It hurts. And it doesn’t help me to trust them. It also can hurt when someone says they’re a Christian and then continually keep breaking their promises especially since..well if you believe the Bible it says this:
All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one. (Matthew 5:37)
I will not violate my covenant or alter what my lips have uttered. (Psalm 89:34)
When a man makes a vow to the Lord or takes an oath to obligate himself by a pledge, he must not break his word but must do everything he said. (Numbers 30:2)
But you know? We’re humans. We all mistakes. And even though sometimes you can’t understand why someone would make a promise that they don’t intend on keeping, you just have to let it go. Because of who we are and because of how the world is, this will always happen. No one will ever keep ALL the promises they make. Not even the people you love.
Is this meant to say that you can never trust anyone? That everyone will fail you? Not really. I mean, you’re not even going to live up to what you want someone else to be. And isn’t that funny? We’ll hold someone else to a higher standard than we ourselves can never live up to.
There is hope though. One, think of your word as gold. Would you give away your gold so easily? Exactly. Also your word builds up your reputation. Maybe you don’t care, but do you really want to be known as someone who is consistently breaking their word?Even if you are good at keeping your word for business, your personal reputation can precede you. Also quite a bunch of good advice in this article for the gents: “Real Men Keep Their Word.”
And also for me, I’ve chosen to put my faith and trust in God. I know he’ll keep his promises.
For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. (2 Corinthians 1:20)
People are going to fail me. And sometimes it’s not going to make sense as to why someone will (or why they keep doing it) and it’s going to hurt. But I know God’s not going to break his promise to me. And that is something I know I can always depend on.
The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures
2 thoughts on “Your word is your bond. Or is it?”
Excellent thoughts! Hopping over from SRT this morning…be blessed.
I try my best to never promise to do something I know I won’t be able to do for someone. It hurts to be lied to, directly or indirectly. I have an ex whose family always made promises to do things they never had any intention of doing, and sincerely believed it was polite to do so!
His mom asked me what I wanted for dinner for my birthday, which was 2 weeks away. I told her, (haddock), assuming that’s what we’d be having. I actually declined another dinner invitation from a family member, because the boyfriend’s mom had asked first. And on my birthday-surprise!-hot dogs for dinner. Not to sound ungrateful, but it was definitely not what I asked for. I pulled my boyfriend aside after dinner and told him I was upset I’d cancelled plans for dinner with someone who genuinely (probably) cared that I got the meal I wanted on my birthday. I asked him why his mom asked me what I wanted for dinner when she was obviously going to cook whenever she wanted anyway. He said “Oh she was just asking to be polite.” How was that being polite?! When you ask someone what they want, you’re offering to do something for them. Leaving out the part where you don’t actually intend to do it is lying by omission. You’re actually being deceptive. Putting on airs to make yourself look better at the moment. I had (wrongly) assumed she’d follow through on her offer. He sincerely didn’t understand what she did was actually extremely rude.
In short, don’t make promises you can’t keep. You just end up being a jerk in the end.