How Good Is Your Word?

By Grant Phillips

Liar, liar, pants on fire! Doesn't that take you back to the school yard? Even children know what a liar is, and they should, since they have been practicing it since the crib. Baby cries. You run to check on it. You pick it up, and rock it back to sleep. You place it back in the crib, and start to go about your business, but it awakes and cries again. You check the diaper. It is dry and there are no foreign objects in it. You check its temperature, but that is okay too. So you pick it up again, about the tenth time now, and it smiles and stops crying each time. You rock it back to sleep, place it back in the crib and start to walk away, but alas, there it goes again. What's wrong? You are now one of those parents who have a spoiled baby. It has learned to give a false alarm to get your attention and thereby get what it wants. Welcome to the club. It has been lying to you all along, and no one had to teach it how to lie. It came built in upon delivery.

I remember well my Dad telling me of a time when a man's word was his bond. Men took pride in keeping their word. A handshake sealed a deal. No contract was needed, because a man's word was good enough. Can that be said of today? Yeah right! Generally speaking, it just ain’t so. Oh there are still a few people around who can be depended upon to keep their word, but is that the norm? I don't even need to answer that. I have known of far too many people who will sign an agreement, and before the ink is dry they have broken the agreement, or are in the process of doing so.

I just thank God that He has never once gone back on His Word. He expects the same from those who are His children.

Speaking of children, have you ever told your child that you would take them somewhere, but didn't? Maybe you promised them that you would be at the school play to see them act, but you couldn't make it. Let's go in another direction, maybe you told them that if they did not stop misbehaving, they would be punished, but you failed to follow through ... again.

You are teaching your children that you are predictably unpredictable. You are a liar, and cannot be trusted. Then you wonder why you can't talk to your children. “They won't listen to me!” Well, duh! I wonder why. You are the foundation that your children’s character is built upon. What are you building, liars, or future men and women who will honor their word? Please recall the baby example in the first paragraph of this article. You have to teach your children to be trustworthy … not to lie in other words, and you can only do that by example. You can tell them all you want not to lie, but if they see you “fudging the truth”, they will do the same. By the way, there is no such thing as a “white lie” and a “black lie”. A lie is a lie … period. You lied to the police officer while awaiting your ticket for speeding. You lied on your taxes. The cashier gave you too much change, and you kept it. You lied to your spouse about those mysterious charges on the credit card. Your children witness all of this. What do you think they will do? Monkey see, monkey do? You betcha.

Let me ask a very simple question. If God's Word is as dependable as ours, where would we be? Now obviously, our word is never going to be as faithful as God's, but He expects us to follow His example, because He is our Father. As our children follow our example, God expects us to follow His example. Do we? He is our foundation that our character is built upon.

A man's word is one thing that can always stay with him, even if he loses everything else. (I am using the word “man” generically of course.) Circumstances can take away everything you have, but if you have built a reputation of being an honest man, you can still walk proudly. And if you are an honest man who walks daily with God, you have everything.

How good is your word? Can your spouse depend on you? Can your children depend on you? What about your employer, your neighbors, your friends, or the stranger you meet? What about God? God's Word is rock solid. How good is your word?

Grant Phillips