A person who promises a gift but doesn’t give it is like clouds and wind that bring no rain. Proverbs 25: 14 NLT
As I read this scripture this morning, I realized that one attribute that I appreciate in people is those that walk in and with consistency. This is the person who you can depend on to keep their word. These people bring a safe element into the relationship. After I started thinking about this verse, I studied for our School of Ministry class. I always preview the videos before we watch them—and Professor Malmin, just so happened to be discussing the attribute of God–holiness. After discussing many different definitions of holiness, he shared one word: consistency. Our God is consistent. He is always the same! No shadow of turning is to be found in him.
Because of this consistency, we can trust him to be who he says he is. To do what he says he will do, and that makes him reliable, stable and trustworthy. It is God’s purpose and desire that we become holy, as he is holy because it is consistent with his character. He wants us to become reliable, stable and trustworthy because it will bring glory to his kingdom.
But immediately when I read that verse two things happened. To be honest, I thought of those who had “broken” their promises to me for various reasons, and then I thought about my own broken promises to others. Neither brought joy. Some of my broken promises came about when I spoke rashly (maybe in pride?); others because of legitimate impedance. Frankly, it caused me to stop and ask forgiveness and also forgive those who I felt had broken their promise to me. Right or wrong, broken promises cause damage to our souls.
Each of us is bound to break our word. Life is like that here on earth. We aren’t always consistent in what we want to do, are we? If that happens to you, do not ignore it. Go to the person and explain the reason. Ask their forgiveness and move on. Our pride rarely wants us to confess to others when we mess up. Instead, we try to justify and rationalize our actions and pass it off as “it wasn’t a big deal”. Maybe not to you, but to the other person who was counting on you, it might have been. So, clear the deck, admit it—and hopefully learn from it and move on.
Communication is always a good idea in these situations. When trust gets broken, it’s hard to rebuild if we don’t admit our wrong. And if someone doesn’t keep their promise to you, forgive them. (Maybe they truly did not know what they were doing). The promise of a gift comes with a type of hope attached. It creates expectancy, and when it doesn’t happen, discouragement and distrust try to move in. Therefore, leaders need to be careful what they promise—whether you are leading your children, your wife, business, or ministry. It is very important to follow through if you can. And if you can’t, explain it and ask for forgiveness. Do not ignore it.
Do not be rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore, let your words be few. Ecclesiastes 5:2 ESV I think if we listen to the adage “think before you speak”, we will keep our word more easily. Words can be such a gift, or they can be a snare. Let us remind ourselves of Proverbs 25:11 A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver. ESV
Father, help us guard our mouth and use it for good. Let us be careful what we promise, because promises bring hope and broken hope makes the heart sick. Help us grow in this area, In Jesus’ Name, Amen.