Cowboy Wisdom

When You Make a Promise, Keep It.

As I was thinking about this topic, I began to recall all the promises made and never kept: my dad, who would instead make a promise than do anything; a hat full of assholes I had to fire because he would say one thing and then do another; promises made by ‘friends’ that were nothing more than an attempt to get something out of me.

It pisses me off when someone makes a promise and then breaks it.

Now, think about the promises made to children, to the elderly, to those in need. How do they feel when someone promises them, and they count on the other person following through?

Promises are not easy; they are hard work. If keeping a promise were easy, then broken promises wouldn’t hurt or make you feel let down. When you promise someone, you need to step out of your comfort zone, often, to keep it.

There have been promises I’ve made to people that were hell to keep. I made one promise that caused me to be taken in by the sheriff and questioned for hours on end. Years ago, I promised someone I wouldn’t tell her abusive husband where their kids were taken (I took them in. Fortunately, they were not at the house when that man showed up. Thankfully, within a couple of days, the sheriff saw the truth of the man and ended up taking him off to jail).

No matter the promise, no matter how small you think it is, it’s going to work to bring about.

Promises are to be taken seriously. Think about when someone made a promise to you and didn’t keep it. When you break a promise, it destroys your reputation, your character, your integrity.

If you know you are not going to be able to keep a promise, keep your damn mouth shut.

Promises should never go beyond your abilities or skills. Let me tell you, and I knew this old cowboy years ago, who promised this one lady that he would help her get the farm going after her husband and older son died in a car wreck. He promised that he would be there with a crew that he had farmed with before.

After things began to thaw and planting season rolled around, that old cowboy never showed up. When I asked him about it, he said he just wanted to make her feel better and not lose hope. Fortunately, there were others to step in and get the cotton in the ground.

When you make a promise, you are committing to that person. If you make a promise and then don’t keep it, you are showing that person that you can’t commit to them or their needs.

Cowboy up and keep that promise!

I don’t know where you stand with God or what your religious beliefs might be, but I’m going to tell you, on the Day of Judgement, you will answer for all those broken promises!

In the Bible, in Matthew 5:33, you find: “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’

In the Tanakh, the Old Testament, you’ll find the following in Ecclesiastes 5:5: It is better not to promise anything than to promise something and not do it. 

Even in the Quran, you find guidance to keep your promise. In Isra, verse 34, you’ll find: “And keep the covenant. Lo! Of the covenant, it will be asked.”

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