I feel uncomfortable when it comes to making promises. Saying something like “I can absolutely do that for you.” or “I’ll send that to you ASAP” makes me wary. Why? Because I know myself.
I’m not completely trustworthy, especially when it comes to getting things done. I don’t want to promise anything until I know that I will actually do it and do it on time. Breaking a promise means losing someone’s trust. It also means that I was dishonest (even if unintentionally).
Bigger promises lke “I will always love you” and “I swear I will never ____ again” are obvious trouble-makers. But so many of us say them without worrying if we’ll later break those vows later on. But what if we didn’t promise anything? What would that be like, and would out loved ones have the same confidence and security with us? How would a wedding vow that says “I will try my best to love you for as long as we are compatible” sound?
Lying and promise-breaking also bothered me as a Christian believer. In high school I meditated on the themes of speech, lying, and the power of the tongue. Pardon me for a minute, because I’m about to give you all a little bible study:
Yeah, yeah… fiery depths of hell for all liars, blah blah. We got it. But wait. Behind all the “die evildoers” text, I think these verses contain lessons about our speech that people of all religions and non-belief can live by:
- Live with integrity; be trustworthy
- Words have consequences
- Think before you speak
Do you make promises of love and commitment when you know you might not keep them? Do you make promises in general?