DO YOU KEEP YOUR WORD? Precious C Philip
Do you know it is a sin to fail to keep your word or promise to people? Especially when you do it deliberately and habitually. God Almighty Himself finds it very offensive when you make a promise to Him and fail to fulfill it: "As you enter the house of God, keep your ears open and your mouth shut. It is evil to make mindless offerings to God. Don’t make rash promises, and don’t be hasty in bringing matters before God. After all, God is in heaven, and you are here on earth. So let your words be few... When you make a promise to God, don’t delay in following through, for God takes no pleasure in fools. Keep all the promises you make to him. It is better to say nothing than to make a promise and not keep it. Don’t let your mouth make you sin. And don’t defend yourself by telling the Temple messenger that the promise you made was a mistake. That would make God angry, and he might wipe out everything you have achieved." Ecclesiastes 5:1-2, 4-6
Now, let us consider this scripture below together:
"Who may worship in your sanctuary, Lord? Who may enter your presence on your holy hill? Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right, speaking the truth from sincere hearts. Those who refuse to gossip or harm their neighbors or speak evil of their friends. Those who despise flagrant sinners, and honor the faithful followers of the Lord, and keep their promises even when it hurts." Psalm 15:1-4
Did you notice the last statement [the one in red]: "and keep their promises even when it hurts"? Easy To Read version puts it this way "If they make a promise to their neighbor, they do what they promised." The Passion Translation says "They make firm commitments and follow through, even at great cost."
I noticed that a lot of born again Christians - real born again Christians, spirit-filled, are careless with their words. They do not think before they speak. They're quick to speak and slow to listen. Many of us do not realise that it is actually a sin to fail to keep your word; it is a sin before God to say what you do not mean and to not mean what you say (except you're joking with someone).
In Matthew 5:37 we are instructed: "But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’ [a firm yes or no]; anything more than that comes from the evil one." (AMP) This means we have to be very careful with our words. We should never say one thing and mean another thing. We should not give people our word when we know we'll not keep it. We should not make promises we know we cannot keep or we're not sure we will keep.
Don't tell a friend, "I'll call you back in few minutes" when you know you'll not call them back.
Don't tell a brother or a sister, "I'll do this for you" when you know you'll not, because you'll be lying to them. Don't tell him/her you'll get back to them later when you know you will not. It is not formality, it is immorality; it is not normal, it is abnormal. Making promises you know you'll not fulfill is telling lies. Giving someone your word when you know you may likely fail to keep it is lying. Let's understand this and put a permanent stop to this transgression in the Body of Christ. Even in the world this is considered a bad thing; promise breakers and untrustworthy people are not smiled at, so why should we condone it in the Body of Christ?
You are not only sinning against God when you fail to keep your word/promise, you're also giving out red light to people that you are untrustworthy - you lack integrity and your words should never be trusted. I was guilty of this in times past, but when the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to it, I genuinely repented. He showed me the scripture we read earlier (Psalm 15) which many born again Christians have also read but never got this revelation: if you do not keep your word/promises, you do not qualify to come before God nor have His presence. After reading that scripture, it dawned on me that God takes our words very serious, and He doesn't expect us to be careless with our words. I determined from that day onwards to always think thoughtfully before giving anyone my word or making a promise.
If I tell you I'll call you later, I must call you. If I tell you I'll do something, I must do it. If I tell you I'll send your regards to someone, I must do that. Why? The Holy Spirit is watching me and taking note of my words. I don't want to lie to anyone and displease the Holy Spirit my Helper. I also have Psalm 15 starring at me always (I need God's presence 24/7). I also must show myself to be trustworthy; a person of integrity. A man or woman with integrity keeps their word. They are truthful and honest. You cannot call yourself a person of integrity if you do not keep your word and promises. Even if you label yourself a person of integrity, people who have had dealings with you will not take you serious because they know the truth about you. I want people to be able to trust me, so I commit to keeping my promises with God's help.
This matter is not something you should trivialize. That your friends, spouse, siblings, brothers and sisters in Christ understand you: that when you say "you'll call back" it means you'll not call back, doesn't make the habit okay. Funny as it may sound, these loved ones may understand you, but you'll not have their trust, neither will they see you as trustworthy and a person of integrity; it is just the reality. Moreover, you'll take this habit to your workplace and the unbelievers working with you will not understand you; they'll simply label you untrustworthy, unreliable, undependable; a person without integrity. They will not take you and your words serious.
I have also realized that one major reason people would say things they do not mean or make promises they'll not fulfil is: they want to please people. They don't want to offend their friends; they want to put a smile on the face of whoever they're making a promise to - they want to be respected, loved and praised. So instead of saying no they cannot do something, they would say yes when they know they'll not deliver. But in the end, when they fail to follow through on their words, they'll still lose the respect, love and praise they gained by making false promises. You need to be mature and bold enough to say 'no' to people when you need to. It is better to say 'no' to people and have them displeased, than to say 'yes' to people when you don't mean it and displease the Almighty God. If you offend people by doing what is right, God can defend you. But if you offend God by doing what is wrong, who will defend you? Can people defend you?
Therefore, examine yourself today and tell yourself the truth: have you been making promises you don't fulfil? Have you been giving people your word and failing to follow through? If yes, accept that you're guilty and genuinely repent.
How do you keep your word henceforth? Think before you speak, and don't make any rash promises to anyone. Be slow to speak (that is why you have one mouth) and be quick to listen (that is why you have two ears). Think thoughtfully before you give anyone your word. Consider if you mean what you want to say. Consider if you'll keep your word. And if you ever give someone your word knowing you'll keep it and something unforeseen happens that makes it impossible for you to keep your word, call them and inform them. Don't just assume they'll understand without an explanation. Actually call/write them and explain what happened to them. It builds their trust in you. If for instance you tell someone you'll meet them in the next 1 hour, if you can't make it, call them and inform them and apologize; don't leave them waiting, only to call them after 3 hours to tell them you are sorry. That is very unethical. Also, meditate on Psalm 15 and let it enter your spirit.
Don't say you'll do something when you know you'll not do it; don't even make a promise when you're not certain that you'll fulfil your promise.
If you say not keeping your promise/word is unintentional (you just often forget) please become intentional about keeping your word from now on. It is time to start being intentional about keeping your promises. Do all you can to remember to keep your word. Don't leave it to chance. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you a retentive memory. Ask Him to remind you. Put things in place (writing it down on your e-note, setting an alarm, taking a screenshot of the conversation, writing it down on a paper and placing on the wall or where your eyes will easily see it...) that will help you remember to do what you've promised to do for someone. The same way you take steps to remember to carry out an important task/project/assignment, do the same when it comes to keeping your word. It is that IMPORTANT too!
When you give people your word and fail to keep it constantly, it makes them feel they're not valuable to you.
You may not fully understand how serious this issue is and the damage it is causing to you, your reputation, character, relationship with God, and respect people have for you. But it is doing a lot you have no idea of. So, take this serious.
What are the benefits of keeping your word? You enjoy God's presence; God will trust you; people will trust you; you become a person of integrity; people actually take you serious; people can recommend you to others and vouch for you; people can seek advice from you; people take your words seriously.
I leave you with this admonition from Apostle James:
"Understand this, my beloved brothers and sisters. Let everyone be quick to hear [be a careful, thoughtful listener], slow to speak [a speaker of carefully chosen words and], slow to anger [patient, reflective, forgiving];" James 1:9 AMP