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Today you are making this agreement with the LORD:
he is to be your God and you are to walk in his ways
and observe his statutes, commandments and decrees,
and to hearken to his voice.
And today the LORD is making this agreement with you:
you are to be a people peculiarly his own, as he promised you;
and provided you keep all his commandments,
he will then raise you high in praise and renown and glory
above all other nations he has made,
and you will be a people sacred to the LORD, your God,
as he promised.”
― Dt. 26:17-19
“Sometimes people don’t understand the promises they’re making when they make them,” I said. Isaac shot me a look. “Right, of course. But you keep the promise anyway. That’s what love is. Love is keeping the promise anyway. Don’t you believe in true love?”
― John Green, The Fault in Our Stars
How important promises are, especially as we move through our personal Lenten season. Obviously, I am not referring to promising to “give up something”. That is, for me, a temporal, artificial promise. Giving up candy or social media (and I have heard the latter, a lot, from students, over the years) is not a bad idea. Moderation is always a positive, but it is not a substitute for promising to do something.
Consider God’s promise to His people. You are Mine. I am yours. They are promised the ultimate of God’s love, a people above all nations, high in praise and renown and glory. God asks only fidelity from His people. All will be well. All will be peace. All will be goodness. All will be rooted in love.
We do, as humans, make plenty of promises, and we do stumble and fall, plenty of times. And, sometimes, people are unwilling or, for some reason, unable to keep their promises. Some are frightened to try. I see this among the folks in the 20s-30s age group. Making a promise and keeping a commitment seem to be the most difficult task possible. The is a fear, but of what? All the other person asks is for your commitment to them, and they will reciprocate with a commitment to you.
Perhaps this is the season to re-examine promises we make and promises we are hard-pressed to keep. Give the commitment, instead of “giving up” something temporal. You will have that commitment in return. If we treat each other as the most precious gifts of God, we will have honored His promise to us as we walk in his ways. He will always return that pledge … always.