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The Worth of Your Word


First off, I do apologize for being very late with my next blog episode. Simply put, it just kept getting pushed further down in order of priorities, but I did promise certain people that I would be consistent on my episodes so after some serious conviction, I’m on it.

So what’s the deal with us not meeting our commitments or promises? I’ve been thinking about it and thought I would bring it up here because in many ways, it seems that we have put aside how important our word can be. I am noticing more often than not, that it is a growing problem in society. I hadn’t really paid attention to it until recently when I was to meet someone for a BBQ lunch but wound up eating alone. As I sat there, I began to work through some thoughts that enabled me to begin remembering how many times people are late or no shows, which led to other things that seem to be in a pattern of lateness. Restaurant food, flights, meetings at work, weddings, yes and even church service that goes on and on. These things I believe we understand will be late time and time again. Heck, I’m good for a few times of being late too. One really doesn’t think about it too much on how often we’re late on our commitments to people.  We make them all the time and from that point pick and choose which ones we do first, second, and so on.

In the greater context of life, the word “late”, is a small word with four letters and perhaps lacks the real and passionate definition it really deserves in our lives. So, because we may not give it too much credence, it may seem like a “no big deal” thing to us but, are we missing how huge it may be to someone else? Someone that is waiting on you to meet that commitment or promise you made to them. As an example, if I make plans to meet with someone at 10 a.m. but don’t watch the clock or allow something else to distract me, I will definitely be late. Being late is not something new because sometimes you’re late, sometimes someone else is late, people are late for various reasons, and I honestly believe that it is unavoidable. I put context to this because it can be frustrating, couldn’t it? Especially when you have a limited amount of time for a meeting or perhaps a deadline that is looming, but you cannot get your work done until someone else does theirs, but guess what? They’re late! It seems to be the way of life now and we’ve drifted away from what is right, especially when it comes to having made a commitment to someone. Keep in mind, I understand someone will be late, occasionally, because some things are beyond some people’s control which causes them to be late. Here’s the key word…sometimes it happens. It shouldn’t be the norm but he exception.

I’d like to share about two guys I meet with often. One of them, I would say you can set your clock to because he’s consistently late. I mean like 9 times out of 10 he’s late. I also have another buddy who you can set your clock to as well but for the total opposite reason. This young man thinks that 10-15 minutes early is on time, and on time is late! Gosh…how can two typical young men be so drastically different? All in all, the fact that I enjoy meeting with these guys simply allows me to adjust my expectations and knowing this has given me the opportunity to plan the meetings accordingly. It’s not a problem for me, but I keep thinking about the folks who have been promised something by them and are expecting something that means a lot to them. I put myself in that mix thinking how many times have I committed or promised something to someone that is waiting on me? I am learning to dig deep in search of any possible missed opportunities so I can rectify them as soon as possible.

I well understand that everyone has an opinion on the definition of what being late means. In addition, I also understand that there may be a difference of opinions on how we meet our commitments. That’s a given, I think, but consider this, what if we stepped outside of ourselves and our definition to a viewpoint less considered, and perhaps more important than our own. The importance of what our word means to someone else. When we commit to or promise someone something, how do we meet that commitment? How do we make that promise come true? We have different means that we display it, talk about it, and expect it from others. This is not bad, just different and we do the best we can as it affects us or others.

 It is said that every man commits to or promises at least 10-12 things in one day. If that is true, I have to assume that each of these fits into categories of priority. Some are very important and others not so much. We may fulfil the important ones but what about the minor ones? To the person you committed to, even though minor to you, it may mean something major to them! Is this person of less value than the one you made great effort to meet your commitment? I would like to say that I hope not, but the reality of it is that in our hearts maybe these two individuals are of equal value, but here’s the deal, when we don’t meet our commitment, our promise, our words begin to lose value to those whose promise was not met. Obviously, in our hearts we don’t feel that way but what we do not control is how our words, met or unmet, make that person feel. What we display with our actions after we commit or promise. We can of course apologize for our error but given enough of these “misses”, our words become ineffective and at worst, unbelievable. It is a bad situation when your words have no value to someone, when you or your name come up to that individual and all they can think about are the let downs you gave them. No more trust, no more calling upon you when help is needed, and then slowly their attention and care from you and towards you, fades like the day into night. 

I grew up in a time when a man’s word meant everything. A time when fist fights broke out because someone was called a liar. When sometimes words and a handshake was all it took to complete a deal. A trust and bond that men treasured and honored. What happened? Where has the virtue gone? I still see it in some of our young men today but sadly, I haven’t seen it in others. I cannot give that to anyone. I can’t give honor to someone that doesn’t want it or perhaps doesn’t really know what it is. Perhaps they never had anyone display it to him in life, perhaps dishonor has been a way of life for him from very young and that’s all they know. They don’t know another way. But because this is something that can be learned, it’s never too late. All it takes is a desire to not only be valued, but to value others. To want your word to mean something to someone, to everyone. That when you speak, people that know you, know that you are a man of integrity, honor, and whatever you say you will do, you will do to completion. That’s a man of integrity. How can we walk together to achieve that for us? Someone wrote this quote that I have treasured in my heart, “people may not remember a lot of what you say, but they will always remember how you made them feel”.  I want that for me and even more, I want that for you too!

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