What does the Bible say about keeping your word? What does a person mean when saying they will keep their word? There are expectations of commitment when someone says they will complete a task, make a call, keep a secret, agree to be honest, or other situations that might involve keeping their word. What happens when that commitment is forgotten or neglected?
Where Does the Bible Talk about Keeping Your Word?
What is the meaning of “keeping your word”? One definition states that when we keep our word, actions are followed through on and completed. In other words, we do what we say we will do. Other definitions say it means to “do what we have promised.”
The Bible is filled with wisdom, lessons, guidance, the law of God, and the message God wants us to learn and understand. Scripture shares stories of promises made and of promises broken. The promises made by God are never broken. Humans stray from keeping their word, and when that happens, heartache, distrust, and anger can enter the situation. God always keeps His Word.
The Bible shares words about the importance of being truthful and keeping your word. The book of Genesis tells how the earth had become corrupt in God’s sight. God had created a wonderful world, yet Adam and Eve did not obey when they were told not to eat from the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Due to humanity’s increasing disobedience, several generations later, God decided to put an end to all the people and the earth. God instructed Noah about building an ark for Noah’s family and at least two kinds of every animal (Genesis 6:19-7:3:3). Noah listened and obeyed (Genesis 6:22).
God kept His Word and brought rain that covered the earth. After 40 days, Noah opened the window and sent out a raven. Then, he sent a dove and, after seven more days, sent the dove again. Noah had followed God’s instructions. The dove returned with an olive leaf. Noah knew the flood had ceased. God gave His Word that the whole earth would not be flooded again.
“And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come. I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life” (Genesis 9:12-15 NIV).
God keeps His Word. The rainbow is a reminder that God will never flood the entire earth again. Genesis is only one example of keeping your word.
5 Scriptures about Keeping Your Word
1. “Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few” (Ecclesiastes 5:2 NIV).
2. “It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it” (Ecclesiastes 5:5 NIV).
3. “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made’” (Matthew 5:33 NIV).
4. “But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him” (1 John 2:5 NIV).
5. He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it” (Luke 11:28 NIV).
Do Christians Have to Keep Their Word with Non-Believers?
As Christians, we are called to share the truth with everyone, believers and non-believers. If we have different standards for different people, the love and truth of God are not shining through our words and actions.
Christians have the opportunity to help bring non-believers to Christ and to help believers deepen their relationship with God. We strengthen our faith by being obedient and true to the Father when we keep our word.
As the apostle Paul shares in 1 Corinthians, we are called to have relationships with those who believe and those who don’t. Paul gives detailed instructions about sharing meals with unbelievers. Scripture tells believers that whatever we do, we do it for God’s glory. Maybe you have heard or read the statement, “We may be the only Bible someone ever sees.” That statement reminds us to have Christ in every moment of life.
The Bible cautions believers about becoming yoked with non-believers. In other words, do not conform to the worldly view. Always put God first in everything.
Share the love of God with words and actions.
How Should We Treat Christians Who Don’t Keep Their Word?
All humans fail at one time or another. We make mistakes and need to repent. Consider the situation when you learn about a Christian who hasn’t kept their word. Perhaps consider putting yourself “in their shoes” for a moment to try and understand their reasons. Remember that trials will come to everyone. The Bible says that we will face tests. When those stressful times arise, go to God and take all concerns to Him.
Pray for the person and situation when someone doesn’t keep their word.
“Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing” (1 Peter 3:9 NIV).
As Jesus predicted Peter’s denial, Jesus shared with the disciples how they were to love others.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:34 NIV).
Christians are not called to keep a tally sheet of wrongs done to us. As Christians, we are called to forgive. The action of someone not keeping their word may be hurtful or have devastating consequences. We may not like the action, but we can ask God to help us continue to love the person.
What Should We Do If We Haven’t Kept Our Word?
Have you ever made a promise and then not followed through? Have you had good intentions, but something got in the way of keeping your word? In life, there are times when circumstances may prevent us from doing what we had intended. Perhaps we forgot, or maybe something happened that didn’t allow us to keep our word.
We can seek God’s guidance to handle the situation at those times. Going to God in prayer can bring resolution and peace.
Ask for His forgiveness first. If possible, ask for forgiveness from the person or people involved.
Thank God for His love and mercy.
Strive to do better. Forgive yourself.
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32 NIV).
Prayer for Helping Us Keep Our Word
Dear God, thank You for Your Word. Thank You for showing us how to keep our word and forgive others and ourselves when we fail. In the name of Jesus, Amen.
In His Name,
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Award-winning author Melissa Henderson writes inspirational messages sometimes laced with a bit of humor. With stories in books, magazines, devotionals, and more, Melissa hopes to encourage readers.
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The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Salem Web Network and Salem Media Group.
These verses serve as a source of renewal for the mind and restoration for the heart by reinforcing the notion that, while human weakness is inevitable, God's strength is always available to uplift, guide, and empower us.
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