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The Code: Painful Promises

by in Soul Food

". . . who keeps his oath even when it hurts . . ." (Psalm 15:4)

We're getting back to where we started this week. Today's piece of the code for a man or woman who would be welcome in God's house is often included in the codes of cowboys and TV mob guys and superheroes. "A man's word is his bond." "If I said it, I'll do it." In an action movie, sometimes the hero even dies keeping a hard promise.

Keeping your word still matters in our culture. And in David's world, an oath was a huge deal. Taking an oath was a way of making a contract, a promise beyond just agreeing to do something. God's Law made it a sin to willfully break even a thoughtless oath. (See Leviticus 5:4) Jesus told people not to take oaths. Just have so much integrity that your "yes" and "no" stand on their own. (Matthew 5:37)

Sometimes keeping our word costs a lot more than we thought it would. Sometimes we have less time or money than we hoped when it's time to pay up on a promise. David and Jesus say that should be our problem. Don't promise easy. And be willing to suffer the pain of keeping those promises.

Think: How often do you say you'll do something -- and then not do it? Why do you think that's so common in our culture? What can you do about it?

Pray: Ask God to help you to become known as a person who does what you say you'll do. Ask Him to help you to be willing to suffer for that character quality.

Do: If you want to get an idea for how good you are at keeping your word, try this. Ask a couple of close friends or family members to rate you on a scale between 1 and 10 for this question: When you say you're going to do something, how confident are they that you'll actually do it?

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