It used to be said in frontier days that “…a man’s word is his bond.” Agreements in the past used to require only a simple handshake and unspoken trust that each party was able their own respective sides of the deal. Failures to do so were considered grave breeches of trustworthy of a revocation of friendship or relationship–or possibly even worse. In some instances, it could be a crime possibly even punishable by death itself.
But fast forwarding to today’s litigious culture we now live in today, it’s amazing the multitude of ways we can easily find ourselves weaseling out of the many commitments we make to ourselves, but more importantly to others on a daily basis. We rationalize things this way: “Oh, they’ll understand why I can’t do this…” or “…I really didn’t mean it when I said I’d do that.” We do this to our spouses, family members, loved ones, friends, neighbors, and others counting us to stand behind what we committed ourselves to do. When we don’t, it should be understandable why maybe one of the reasons we might have problems in regards to relationships with others around us.
In those situations, one part of the Torah (FYI for West Texicans who don’t have a concept of Hebrew–it’s the first FIVE books of the Old Testament…) has a little problem with that. It comes in the form of something the Lord Almighty commanded Moses to say: “…Speak to the children of Israel SAYING–Whatever a man shall vow, he shall do exactly what he said.” (Numbers 30:1 & 2, New International Version)
It’s a painful truth I’ve been forced to learn the hard way in the past (and even now as I write this, am also having to yet relearn once again). It’s a painful truth that reminds me of what King Solomon said in Ecclesiastes about the fact that “…there is nothing new under the sun–what has been done will be done again” (or as I prefer to say – ”It’s only new variations on old stuff that’s been done before..”). It’s a hard truth that confronted me through several subsequent years of underemployment and transportation difficulties that becomes one of the
most callous prison guards on the face of the earth (and yet even now in a different form once again has reared its ugly head into my life).
It seems in my life that I have seen and been on both sides of broken commitments and breached trust. I have been both the offender of such dirty deeds–and also simultaneously the victim of others who have done the same. Even one or two right now in my personal acquaintance are among those that I haven’t quite been able to make appropriate restitution to yet in financial and/or other ways.
But it’s not just friendships affected by these reneged commitments and breeches of trust. Marriages crumble when the vows a man and a woman made to each other on their wedding day years later are turned aside from and callously cast away as rejects in the desert. Business partnerships collapse when honest efforts are not made to bring the promised goods required to fulfill their part of a business transaction. Relationships are scarred with inadequate answers to the question: “BUT YOU PROMISED! I thought you said you’d do this? And then you turn around and break your word? How can I ever trust you ever again?”
I could safely assume that to most in this thing called humanity (and especially to our God), the manner in which one does or does not do their utmost in delivering in the commitments they make to others is one of the ways a person is usually judged, good or bad, in society. But it’s not just the eyes of men that use that as a tool of the evaluation of others. We’ve mentioned in recent editions that there’s a Scriptural framework for all of this. We’ll go back and reemphasize that again in our next session together.
Until next time (as He allows, of course), see ya at the CROSSroads–