Humans promise things all the time. We promise to take the garbage out, we promise to be good, we promise to call or write, we promise to love and honor, we promise our selves we will be better at following through with our promises. God promises to be there for us all the time for us, loving us, and he carries out this promise. He is more dependable than humans.
I tell my students that the most difficult part of growing up is when you discover that humans are not perfect and that your parents are human. They were not made to automatically follow through on things. It’s something we all have to work at. Love means working at implementing promises and expectations we make to people we care about. Love is also Not making promises we are not sure that we can keep. Promises depend on the character and ability of the promiser.
For example, my mom and dad had great character. They loved us very much and as children believed they would never leave us or each other. Now ask if they had the ability to follow through with that promise. They thought they did. But things happen in life then we react to those things . My mom reacted to being alone in an unhealthy way. I think she just lost faith. Not thinking of the consequences and not believing she was really that sick, she said to her children on the ambulance gurney to be good until she gets back. Another promise? Yes. Did she have the ability to make such a promise? No. Up until then her character was pretty good for it. But alcohol distorts vision worse than a lazy eye does. Another example is my brother who made promises to me for various things like spending a day with me or coming to see a play at my school. His character is inconsistent so his ability to make promises needs a lot of work. But I will always love my brothers. They must have made a subconscious promise to love me and it’s the one thing they do follow through with.
So, of course I need to look at myself in this. I learned through hurt and heart ache so I worked hard at not depending on promises (other than from God). My subconscious, as a child, understood that anyone I got close to tended to die, not keeping their promises of always being there. As an adult, I may still have some trust issues but I am more conscious of it. I try to be as honest as I can. I can never say I am perfect because I have too many imperfections, inconsistencies and immaturities to claim social perfection. I don’t want to be that person who makes a promise and doesn’t follow through with it. That’s probably why it took me a long time until I got married. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to execute the promise of marriage. God put me to the challenge and I obeyed, got married and we are still going strong after 10 years. Other things like when a student asked me to go to a graduation or a question that would make me guarantee my answer so I usually try to say something along the lines of, ” I am not going to promise you anything ….” or “I can not guarantee ….”
There are certain things in my life that I do my best to carry out my promise. I promise to love. Love comes naturally to me so it’s easy to love my husband, family, friends and any child that comes into my life. I can promise that if anyone I love does anything that may hurt me, they will usually be forgiven and my love won’t waver.
So Love is truly executing promises we make. Parents promise to love their children and bring them up the best way they know how. Though now I see a trend of parents who don’t follow through. They give their children too many chances. Ever see that parent with the over active child at the check out line… “If you don’t stop I’m going to spank you.” then it’s, “if you don’t stop I’m going to call your father” then it’s, “just wait till we get home” So the child, knows they can act up and all they get are unkept promises.When they were little and would stay with me, I gave my nephews a warning then I followed through with what I said I would do and because of that they knew they were loved and they knew I meant what I said. I believe and have seen that children whose parents don’t set strict boundaries and execute their promise of consequence they don’t feel secure or that their parents care. It’s really the follow through that is so crucial. Executing the promise shows love. They may scream and yell and say they hate you but you will be thanked years later for it when they have children. I figure a teenager saying they hate me must mean I’m doing something right.
Show the love like God does and execute the promises you make.