Dr. Seuss inspired wedding vows with a lighter side to traditional words promised at the altar. In part, they state the following:
Will you love through good and bad?
Whether you’re happy or sad?
Will you love each other if you’re rich?
Or if you’re poor, and in a ditch?
This poem is humor-filled, good for a genuine laugh. but keeping our word when we say that we will do something is a serious matter to God. Sadly, many people today believe that keeping their word is optional. But what would happen if everyone felt the same way…if doctors no longer kept the promise to “do no harm,” or “use my knowledge in a godly manner?” What if local law enforcement, entrusted with our safety, didn’t really mean it when they were sworn “on my honor, I will never betray my badge, my integrity, my character, or the public trust…?”
Most of us see promises and vows made by authority figures as being on a higher level than our own promise to keep an appointment, finish an assignment, or help with a project. But the Word of God has something sobering to say about that line of thought; You shall be careful to do what has passed your lips, for you have voluntarily vowed to the Lord your God what you have promised with your mouth. Deuteronomy 23:23 (ESV) Yes, when we say we will do something, we “voluntarily vow” to God that we will complete it.
But what about the unforseen circumstance that presents itself, what about the emergency, the illness? I believe God has compassion in those times. He understands that we may not be able to follow through with a promise of our word in a particular circumstance if something happens to hinder us that is beyond our control. However, even then we should communicate with those we’ve given our word to and let them know why we cannot follow through. Often, this communication is forgotten as well, and others are affected by that choice.
Keeping our word is part of our character. Others will respond to us based on how well we honor what we say we will do. If we are unsure of our ability or desire to follow through with a request, we should not let it pass our lips. So, be careful little mouth what you say!