Two of my friends recently suffered the same insult within the span of a couple of days – they each were stood up for lunch. One was offered the excuse of “I forgot.” One received no excuse or apology at all.
Another person told me about a sign-up sheet she posted for a church event. The event was well-attended and enjoyed by all, but some who signed-up didn’t show and gave no notice. Even signing one’s name on a piece of paper today seems to come with the warning “unless something else better comes along.”
There was a time when a person’s word meant something. A church member recently recalled to me what life was like growing up in her hometown in middle Tennessee. The local grocer would deliver what her mother needed at home during the week, and on Friday, her father would go into the store and pay the bill. Talk about trust! The grocery store trusted that the family would pay, and the family trusted that the grocery store was honest in its accounting. Yes, cash was the currency that paid for the groceries, but the ultimate currency in such an exchange is trust.
And we are running an ever-growing deficit of trust. Every time someone fails to live up to his/her word, the debt increases. When a husband or wife fails to put the other first, trust is lost. When parents selfishly put themselves before their children, trust is lost. When an employee refuses to give his/her best to the company, trust is lost. When the company values the bottom line over quality work, trust is lost.
Trust builds relationships, and trust builds successful organizations and societies.
To build trust, we must keep our word and hold fast to our commitments. The Bible says it this way - “But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’” (Matthew 5:37; James 5:12). What a simple concept!
In a time of fine print and loopholes, broken promises and failed commitments, what does your word mean? Does your “yes” mean “yes” or does it really mean “maybe?” Your family, friends, workplace, church & nation depend on you keeping your word. They will be blessed when you do. And guess what? So will you.