Bible Reading: 2 Corinthians 1:15-2:2
“Was I vacillating when I wanted to do this? Do I make my plans according to the flesh, ready to say “Yes, yes” and “No, no” at the same time? As surely as God is faithful, our word to you has not been Yes and No. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No, but in him it is always Yes. For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory” [2 Corinthians 17-20 ESV]
It is imperative that we should, as Christians, be like God in the sense that our word is our bond. When we say, “Yes” we should mean, “Yes”. When we make a promise we should keep it. However, sometimes we have to change our plans and are aware that God has something different that we should do.
For example, last week I had agreed to meet someone on a certain day and at a certain time, but an emergency arose and I needed to cancel. The person concerned was happy to release me and I was able to reschedule the meeting within three days. Situations like this may not be uncommon, but our principle should be that we fulfil our commitments and keep our promises.
Although the apostle Paul had made a commitment to visit the Church in Corinth, he had a real sense that it was not the right time, and that he should postpone his visit. Some people in the Church at Corinth considered Paul to be no longer trustworthy because of this. Whilst this should never become a habit, it is nevertheless a wonderful attitude that releases people from a commitment when that is necessary, and does not hold it against them.
Our son Timothy struggled with church as a teenager. When he was seventeen we released him from having to go to church because we expected it. He rebelled and went into the world, and many nights Esther and I would cry out to God for him. He became a chef, and worked in a London restaurant. One morning he called me and said, “Dad I am desperate! I want to give everything to Jesus. Will you disciple me?” Not many fathers have the privilege of a 22 year-old son asking their father to disciple them. I cancelled everything in my diary for nearly four months, and early each morning, and often in the afternoon, met with Tim. We laughed, cried, read the Bible, chatted, and prayed together, and God began to turn him around. I had to cancel commitments to preach, and some of those churches have never invited me back. I have no guilt about what I did! Even though we should fulfil our commitments, we still need to be flexible and open to change.
Why is it important that our word is our bond and we keep our promises?
If we do have to change a commitment because something important has cropped up, how can both parties show grace in such a situation?
Have you personally felt let down when someone has not fulfilled a commitment to you, and have held it in your heart against them? Why not contact them, forgive them, and seek to rebuild your relationship with them?