Do not waste others’ time with empty promises:
But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath, but let your “Yes” mean “Yes” and your “No” mean “No,” that you may not incur condemnation. -James 5:12, NAB
The message today is clear: do not make promises – especially those you cannot keep. Do not say, “I promise this,” or “I swear that.” Do not guarantee anything that is truly out of your control. Simply be a man or woman of your word.
When you become reliable and dependable, you don’t have to promise anything. Others will trust and believe that you will do exactly what you say you will do. They will trust you even when you don’t say anything at all.
Meanwhile, people are wary of someone who makes too many empty promises. Politicians make plenty of promises they can’t keep. Spend five minutes watching the news lately, and you will see what I mean. But they are not the only ones. Society is filled with people who will promise you the world with little intention of following through.
Next to the overuse of the phrase “Oh my God,” the expression “I swear to God” bothers me most – more than the most vile of cuss words. Who are we to make promises on God’s behalf? What gives us the right to swear by His name? Still, it has become a part of common language.
Empty promises have no value to anyone, so do not make promises that you cannot keep. If you want people to trust you, just be a man or woman of your word while leaving the promises out of it. It’s better for people to recognize your best effort than to remember your broken promises.