I Promise

It’s amazing how children seem to add such emphases on the word “promise” as if this somehow makes their statements more meaningful. “I promise I’ll do better, mom!”, “I promise never to do that again.”, or “I promise it’s the truth.”

One of the many lessons I wanted my children to learn at an early age, was that such phrases were useless. Why? (You might ask.) Because adding the phrase “I promise” doesn’t make your profession any more meaningful. Either you will do something or you won’t; adding a promise won’t change the end results.

I wanted my children to learn that they should always stand by their word. When you say you’ll do something, do it. When you say you won’t, don’t. When you agree to a price, stick with it. When you agree to help, do.

When people say, “I promise” they are usually trying to convey the seriousness of the statement. However, why would someone doubt the statement to begin with? Either the person is truthful or not. If you are already a person of character, there is no need to prove your truthfulness.

If we learn to simply stand by our word , then there is no need for an open vow to be given. People will recognize that when we speak, we mean what we say. No matter the cost, we will do what was spoken.

However, sometimes people try to use promises as a way to manipulate others. They use their words in an attempt to deceive or exploit another.

When looking at verses about God’s vows to us, we do not read “And I promise ….” No! He simply says He will and He does. His Word is always true and will always stand. (Interestingly, the only times in Scripture when we see God’s words referred to as “promises” are when someone else refers to them; they are never from God Himself.)

All that said… Does this mean promises are never made? Absolutely not! We make vows to the people we marry, we pledge our honor to our nation, we swear truthfulness in a court of law, and will continue to do so in many other situations.

My point is not that guarantees fail to exist, but rather that our oath should be synonymous with the statement. By saying I will do something, I am in fact giving you my promise. Saying the words “I promise” would be either redundant or a lie. Either way, they are useless.

“But let your statement be, ‘yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil.”               – Matthew 5:37


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