Monday, September 26, 2011

Commitments and Complications

Commitments and Complications

Some of my greatest heroes, both in the past and in the present, are people who have stood by their promises when part of those they love has been stolen from them by disease or disaster.

With every commitment comes complications, but the ultimate test is not the complications but our faithfulness to our word.Making and keeping promises is one of the things that distinguisheshumans from animals. It is also what separates good people from badones.

Yes, I can imagine some promises that should be broken. What if I am ajunior-high kid who promises his buddy to help get even with somebody who hurt his friend's feelings by trashing his bike or computer? Then I realize that I've promised to do something wrong. Break the promise!You had no right to make it.

Adults sometimes get in those situationsas well. Think first. Then speak. Yes, I can imagine some good promises made in good faith that may be broken. Suppose a woman accepts a proposal to marry -- only to discoverover the few months prior to the wedding date that the relationship is a big mistake. Better to be honest and suffer embarrassment or break his heart now than create the long-term heartache and eventual failure of a formalized commitment.

However, the general rule about keeping promises cannot be formed by exploring the exceptional cases. And the principle that holds a society together is that we must keep the promises we make to one another.Employment contracts, land sales, bank notes, installment loans --these formalized contracts about "things" require documentation and signatures. We enforce them in courts.Then there are the adult promises we make to one another. They shouldbe regarded as even more important to our integrity as human beings than the contracts we sign about mere things such as cars or money.

Arethey?

A Christian leader recently made negative headlines with his televised comment about keeping promises. A caller asked what advice to give afriend who had begun a romantic involvement with another woman after his wife began suffering the dreadful effects of Alzheimer's disease."I know it sounds cruel," he said, "but if he's going to do something,he should divorce her and start all over again, but make sure she has custodial care and somebody looking after her."The speaker's on-air partner asked about the traditional -- and biblical -- vow to love and remain together "in sickness and in health"until death parts them. "If you respect that vow, you say 'til death dous part,'" he continued. Then he added: "[Alzheimer's] is a kind ofdeath."

Lots of things are "a kind of death" -- ranging from bankruptcy to paralysis from an auto accident to disfiguring cancers to Alzheimer'sdisease. That's why we make promises and are called by God to keep them. That's how we take uncertainties out of the lives of the people we love. That's how we preserve integrity in complex and painful times.

This is what the Bible says about making promises: It is better to say nothing than to make a promise and not keep it (Ecclesiastes 5:5 NLT). Amen.

4 comments:

  1. That "Christian leader" is no one I would want to be listening to! To say that Alzheimer's is a kind of death is a mockery of the word! As a born again Christian, I know of temptation that has ruined many lives. Living by promise is a tough thing to do. Like you said: it is best to say nothing than to make a promise you can't keep.

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  2. Consistent with "reverse positioning" understand the REAL Second coming would equate with The Matrix's Anti-Christ, the fake battle of good and evil which will come at the end.
    I have spoken on this issue in years past. Understanding how they use the political environment to redefine people's value system, realize anyone who speaks of the old world and its ways will envoke hatred. So when/if the Anti-Christ comes along speaking of reverting back to what liberalism would consider repressed and immoral may be the only hope to salvage the god's favor and keep moving forward rather than begin the 1000 year clock. The fake Second Coming will feed into this political enviornment.

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