Integrity: The Lost Art of Following Through

Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ be ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one. –Matthew 5:37

Most of us have recent examples where we’ve observed the truth in the phrase “Talk is cheap.” For example when my wife and I moved into a new home, it was a year filled with promises from vendors and contractors who rarely followed through on their word without some kind of nagging or pressure from us. It seems our society is filled with people who have lost the art of following through on promises they have made.

It would be nice if we could say that Christians are immune from the “talk is cheap” phenomenon, but we aren’t. I see it happen within our ranks all of the time. More indicting, the truth is that I’m just as guilty. Perhaps I’ve snuggled up too close (once again!) to our culture and have been unintentionally influenced by it — but I find that I promise more often than I deliver. While not intentionally lying, from “I’ll pray for you” to “I’ll help you with that project,” I’ve delivered verbal assurances where I haven’t thought seriously enough about the actual follow-through. Looking back, it’s embarrassing, and I honestly want to do better.

Some may observe, “Everyone does it — we don’t mean to do it — it’s harmless.” For the most part, that observation is likely accurate. Most lapses in following through do not rise to the level of life or death issues; however, I believe that as Christ-followers, we are held to a higher standard. The Scriptures make it clear that integrity, honesty and following through on our promises are important to our own souls and to our relationships. While words are important, actions do speak louder. Our actions reveal more about our faith than all of the words we can muster. As such, I’m not suggesting that we stop making promises to protect ourselves from lying. I’m suggesting that we honor God by acting on what we promise.

I know that I won’t always be perfect in this area from here on out, but my goal is to intentionally think more about following though — in the very moment I commit to something — and to remind myself that too often my own talk is cheap. Today, I encourage you to do the same.

GOING DEEPER:

1. Think of a recent time when a person or company didn’t deliver on a promise to you. How did you react? What difference did it make in your perception of that person/company?

2. Evaluate whether or not you need to admit that too often your talk is cheap. Ask God to help you be a person of your word.

FURTHER READING:

Proverbs 10:9, 13:3, 14:23, 19:20; 2 Corinthians 9:2-5

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Jim Liebelt

Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for HomeWord. Jim has over 35 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, having served over the years as a pastor, author, consultant, mentor, trainer, college instructor, and speaker. Jim’s HomeWord culture blog also appears on Crosswalk.com and Religiontoday.com. Jim and his wife Jenny live in Quincy, MA.

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