12 October 2010

Keeping Your Word


Another good point from today's second reading at Morning Prayer in the breviary is the importance of keeping one's word. Saint James exhorts the faith to make their statement of "yes" mean yes, and their statements of "no" mean no. I do wonder what percentage of the population in today's culture actually believes in keeping their word. There is indeed too much insincerity in the world today. It has always been a problem and one that we cannot simplify by blaming it on the modern age. In the modern age, though, it does seem far more rampant than in the recent past.

Not keeping one's word ultimately comes down to an act of selfishness. (See the earlier posting today on the power of prayer). People may not keep their word because they forget. Some of that can be attributed to general human frailty and not anything inherently evil. Beyond a point, though, this "forgetfulness" simply is a lack of respect for one's fellow man. One fails to feel any responsibility to anyone other than one's self or one's interests, so they "forget." We don't call it the "Me Generation" for nothing.

And then there are machinations. This is an extension of selfishness as well. One makes promises to whomever simply for the end it can produce and then does not hesitate to break the promises when it no longer suits their purposes. Some call this "just business, nothing personal." Some think it is being clever, or attribute it to survival of the fittest. I, on the other hand, tend to think St. James promotes the correct answer when he says that those whose word means nothing are deserving of condemnation. Oh how wrong the world has gone. It seems we have forgotten we are brothers and sisters in Christ. In my time working overseas, I have seen this as much if not more than in the United States. It is truly a global problem.

I am reminded of what Big Daddy said in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. "There ain't nuthin' more powerful than the smell of mendacity!" Let's say what we mean and mean what we say and think about our fellow man, and the world will be a better place.