“A person who promises a gift but doesn’t give it is like clouds and wind that bring no rain” (Proverbs 25:14 New Living Translation).
Do you keep your word to others? I’m not talking about keeping the promises you make or you’ve made to God. My focus is on your promises to fellow human beings. Do your promises mean anything to you at all?
Our anchor scripture compares making a promise and not fulfilling it to rain that threatens to fall but fails to – it disappoints people’s expectations.
If you have a reputation in your family, office, business, organization, etc. for breaking promises as soon as you you make them, you lack character. No matter how highly placed or rich you are, if you have a reputation for habitually breaking your promises you don’t have a good reputation. Proverbs 22:1 says, “Choose a good reputation over great riches, being held in high esteem is better than silver or gold” (New Living Translation). And according to Ecclesiastes 7:1a, “A good reputation is more valuable than costly perfume” (New Living Translation).
Don’t make promises you don’t intend to keep. If there is any new development making it impossible for you to fulfill a promise, call the person you’ve made a promise to as early as possible and apologize. Don’t take the person for granted. Breaking promises erodes trust.
In your transactions, don’t make empty promises just to gain the upper hand, win a contract, get an approval, secure an employment, etc. only for you not to be able to deliver when the time comes. This may cause loss of any advantage you may have been enjoying based on your unfulfilled promises.
Don’t overpromise and then underdeliver. Underpromising and overdelivering also has its own disadvantages. The best thing to do is to make feasible promises and fulfill them. Roman writer, Publilius Syrus, said, “Never promise more than you can perform.”
Make only promises you will keep. Don’t be pressured or deceived to make promises you can’t keep. Don’t make promises based on your emotions or out of ignorance – consider the facts.
Always remember your promises – some promises must be written down and kept to ensure accuracy of details. A promise you’ve made is an outstanding debt you must pay.
The world will be a better place if we all keep our promises. Our country will be better if our leaders, especially our political leaders, keep their promises. Former Soviet Prime Minister, Nikita Khrushchev, said, “Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build a bridge even where there’s no river.” Obviously, he wasn’t talking about a pedestrian bridge across a road!
We need politicians, artisans, professionals, etc. who will make promises and fulfil them.
In your interactions with people, mark those who can promise you everything and anything, those whose belief is that promises are made to be broken, those who easily make promises but easily forget. Don’t rely on them. Don’t become a victim of their immoral habit.
Emulate God who makes and keeps promises (1 Kings 8:56, Psalm 77:7-8, Hebrews 11:11, 10:23b, 2 Corinthians 1:20). Be a promise keeper, not a promise breaker!
This is wisdom for living, and it’s worth sharing.
(For more inspiring messages, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso,
Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria