This is not usually the kind of blog where I write about the stuff I did today so that you can live vicariously through me or at the very least feel better about yourself because your life doesn’t suck as much as mine does. However, today you’re going to get a small dose of Dennis’ life because, well, to put it bluntly, I screwed up today — big time!
One of the hardest things about being out there in front of everyone is that you really have to stay on your toes. When you do something that people feel is not right for a Christian to do, they will waste no time in telling you so. Some even take a certain pleasure in it. The natural instinct is to make excuses or try to justify it because of circumstances and the like. But the simple fact is that as Christians we have the responsibility to make sure that we own up to our mistakes. So here goes…
I broke a promise I made to my nephew Jacob today. Actually, the promise was made to his parents my brother Alex and his wife Joan. I told them on Saturday that Roberta and I would be over to visit tonight. But we didn’t go. Why is totally beside the point. I could explain it all but it would make no difference. The fact remains that Robert and I got home about 8pm. We had a bite to eat and watched a little TV and then at 9 o’clock I went downstairs to my den in the basement and turned on the computer. And there was the reminder staring at me from the computer screen. Today was Jacob’s birthday!
Both Roberta and I had completely forgotten about it!! There is no excuse, no explanation that can make restitution for this. I blew it. I made a promise and I failed to keep it. The ironic thing about it is I am currently preparing a piece of scripture for storytelling in church this Sunday. Here’s part of the passage…
“Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord. But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’, and your ‘No’, ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.” Matthew 5:33-37 New King James Version
In case you missed it, we need to keep our oaths to family and friends as well; and especially, I think, to children. We can make all the excuses we like about how busy we are and how much the world in closing in on us, but that is really all just excuses. What matters most in life is that we can be trusted; that we are the people that God expects us to be. Because if we are not it reflects badly not just on us, but on every person who calls themselves a Christian, and ultimately on God as well.
It bothers me deeply that I let my family down tonight. I love my brother and his wife and my nephew Jacob. They are very important to me even though we travel in different circles and don’t socialize very much. Which is why it is even more important that I keep my word to them and am there for them when I say I will be. Tonight I wasn’t there when I should have been and it’s going to take me a long time to repair that damage.
That’s why I’m writing this tonight. The first step in repairing the damage is to admit the mistake. Especially for those of us who claim to represent the Kingdom of God. If we cannot be counted on to keep our word; if our ‘yes‘ doesn’t always mean ‘yes‘, then the world is justified to call into question the message we present to them in Jesus’ name. And that is something we must not allow to happen.