February 8, 1999
Psalm 15:1,4 "Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill?...(he) who keeps his oath even when it hurts..."
It seems hard for the modern man and woman to keep his/herpromises these days. Large or small, promises are broken as quickly as they are made. The moment promises become inconveniences they are dropped.
My friend Tim used to come down each year from Washington and we would invariably trek out and hunt down some meat at the local grocery store and throw it on a roaring fire (o.k., barbecue) at home. Did we also raid the local village and drag ourselves home some females of the species?--I can't remember.
One year, we had invited a whole group of friends to come over at noon to join us. Everyone would be there by noon they said. Well, the first friend shows up at 3 P.M. Then the rest just sauntered in through out the afternoon. Now, as well as I recall, no one, prior to coming, was in the middle of a fusion experiment, or rescuing P.O.W.s from a Vietnamese concentration camp. They just all showed up late. No big deal for them or for me.
While this little incident is small, I believe it is more indicative of a larger problem.
I am not going to judge here. I have been as guilty as those rotten jokers. Showing up late, backing out of stuff when I felt lazy, forgetting commitments, etc. I am sure I have come up with some great excuses, but most, I fear, are only that-- great EXCUSES.
How we perform in our in our "small" promises will reflect how we perform in our "big" promises. "Small" promises should be easy to keep. If we "can't" keep a small promise, how can we expect to have instant character when the need is to keep a "big" promises?
There are many of us that do show up for the child's Christmas programme, do keep our vow of "'till death do us part", do pay the bills. However, those actions in and of themselves do not show character. We can easily keep them only from the pressure society, family and our own guilt puts upon us, but where we fell no pressure or guilt, we feel free to break our promises as we please.
That is our society in general. The promises implying "exactly" noon have become "around" noon. We break our word so often even in the little things that we make pseudo-promises . "I will" has become "I might". "Now" became "later" somewhere along the way.
We make promises to make others feel as if we will commit to them, to be there when needed, but often have little strength to keep them.
However, for the same above reasons of implied commitment,I encourage you to make promises. An "I will" is a promise and should be made in many cases. " I will love you." "I will play catch with you."
May my "yes" mean yes and my "no", no. I should not make promises I don't need to make, to just say, "I can't" when I shouldn't promise, or say to myself,"Just Do It!" when I have promised.
A wise person will keep their promises even when it hurts--or is unpleasurable--to so do.