Tuesday, July 06, 2010

[Maybe] a Final Word on Promissory Notes

So, where are we? Christians are called to keep their promises. Keeping them can become very difficult, especially where the circumstances (other than the promise we have made) are not of one's own making (e.g., the economy, a spouse who turns out not to love us just as we absolutely know we ought to be loved and, in fact, are entitled to be loved; a child whom we promised to raise in the nurture and admonition of the Lord but who exhausts us, so we will sleep in on Sunday morning). One conclusion is to be very careful of the promises one makes. But once we make that promise, well . . . maybe the housing market will come back, maybe we will become happy with the way we are loved and learn to demonstrate to the other how we think a spouse should be treated, and maybe the spirited child will grow up with a strong Christian character of his own. Or maybe none of this will happen in this world, but the Lord will bless us in other ways. Or maybe he won't, at least right away. That's not the point, is it?

It seems to me that we are much too free with what we promise, and are very careless about our promises. Or, when others seek a commitment from us, we haven't the courage to say no. Or we are too dependent on the regard of others to turn them down. Or we so very much want what the other is offering, want it right then and there, that we will say about anything to get it. All of these reasons seem to go to the matter of our character and integrity. They really don't justify making a promise and, then, later breaking it.

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