“Remember your word to your servant, because you gave me hope” (Psalms 119:49 WEB). We love to remind God of all the promises He makes to us. But what about the promises WE make?
Let’s not be ungrateful or a spoiled child. If we hope that God and everyone else around us keep their promises, we must rise to the same standard and do the same. We make promises in different kinds of circumstances, but if we do not take the time to remember them, and easily forget them.
Promises made to others
Did you promise to help someone and still didn’t do it? It reminds me of the story of Joseph in prison. The baker and the cupbearer were both in prison and both had a dream. Joseph interpreted their dreams, announcing to the baker that he was going to die and that the cupbearer was going to be forgiven. Then he said to the cupbearer: “But remember me when it will be well with you, and please show kindness to me, and make mention of me to Pharaoh, and bring me out of this house” (Genesis 40:14 WEB). Once released, the cupbearer forgot his promise and Joseph stayed in jail for two more years!
Who did you leave in an unfortunate situation because you forgot your promises? It may be a member of your church who you promised to help grow spiritually and now you all forgot about it since you don’t see them at church anymore. Or maybe an elderly member of your family, whom you forgot to take care of as you promised. Have you missed being grateful when someone has done you a favor? Take the time to think about it. What promises have you forgotten? “But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’ and your ‘No’ be ‘No.’ Whatever is more than these is of the evil one” (Matthew 5:37 WEB).
Promises you made to yourself
There are the resolutions of the beginning of the year, beautiful goals that we give ourselves to improve a certain area in our lives. And these resolutions are widely made but rarely held! But there are also promises that we often make after a failure in our life. We promise ourselves to never date this type of person, or we promise to take care of ourselves, or to rest more, to take a vacation after this project, and the list goes on.
These promises are very precious. They are usually the only positive point of a tragic situation in our life. “Through all this pain, at least I learned to…” But how often do we fall back into the same mistakes? “As a dog that returns to his vomit, so is a fool who repeats his folly” (Proverbs 26:11 WEB). Yes, we act like fools when we forget the lessons we have learned the hard way.
The solution to not forgetting them is not only reminding ourselves but to give ourselves the tools necessary to walk in the right direction. The word “conversion” in the Bible means to adopt a new behavior. This is not done automatically, it is necessary to put in the effort and establish strategies, so we don’t fall back into old traps. If you decide that on Saturday nights you will not go to nightclubs anymore, it’s not enough to make that decision. You need to replace these evenings with something else because if you do not, you will feel so alone on Saturday nights. Then you will not be able to resist the temptation to return to your bad habits. If your friends are not edifying, do not isolate yourself: create a new group of friends! Give yourself help for keeping the promises you made to yourself.
Promises made to God
How many times have we made a promise to God in exchange for His intervention? We didn’t need to promise Him anything: we can’t buy God. He will not be manipulated by our words, He knows our heart too well. However, our promises are something He hears. “When you vow a vow to Yahweh your God, you shall not be slack to pay it; for Yahweh your God will surely require it of you; and it would be sin in you” (Deut:23.21 WEB and see also Matthew 5:33).
We often see God as a good father and that is true. He is gracious to us on many occasions: He is slow to anger. But this image we have of a good God can be dangerous because it can cause us to lack reverence for Him. He is very kind, but He remains God, and He has all authority over us. It is good to make promises to God, to commit to Him as He did to us, but we must not forget these promises. Think about it for a moment, and if you need to repent, do it quickly and keep your word! “Sacrifices of peace offerings are with me. Today I have paid my vows” (Proverbs 7:14 WEB).
To keep our promises to others, ourselves or even to God is not only a question of fidelity and integrity. To keep one’s word is not only a remarkable quality in life in general, but it is also essential for a couple. The more familiar our relationship is, the more we tend not to take our promises seriously. Yet it’s in the day to day that these broken promises create deep wounds. So while you are single, practice keeping your word. Be a man or a woman of trust and honor.