ImageAs I was reflecting on the things that bugged me the most last year and the things that elated me the most I found that in the negative category are people who do not keep or even make commitments, and on the positive category are people who live authentic lives.

The Bible tells us that when we say something we should fulfill our promises.  When we don't fulfill our promises we are telling lies and thus we are on the side of him who has been a liar and a deceiver from the beginning, Satan.  To me it does not make much difference if it is a blatant lie or a white lie.  Lying has become a life style for many people both in the world and sometimes even in the church.

Those people are lying who promise to be somewhere (or do something) when they do not have the slightest intention to be there.  These people are making great promises knowing that they will never keep them and people are constructing this hyper-spiritual or unapproachable situation.

I have met people who promise to do certain things and when called for it, they act as though you may have had it wrong.  Yet you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they told you that you could count on them, they would be there at that particular time.  I find out that they have lied so much that the truth is the farthest thing from their mouths.

I have met people who came to see me in the office because they needed the church to help them and they have told me some awful stories.  Most of these stories end with the statement: "Reverend, I know that I have been away from the good Lord, but you can count on me that I will be in this church this coming Sunday."  My saddest lies are those promises that I hear in the cemeteries, when I do funeral services for mothers and fathers.  I meet sons and daughters who have been raised in the church and my presence raises the guilt factor. "You can count on me being in church this coming Sunday, Reverend."  The Sundays come and I look for them, but rarely have they showed up.  They have learned to live a lying lifestyle and they make a promise they have no intention of keeping even when they make that promise on the fresh ground from their parents grave.

The second type of people who renege are those who come with something better.  "I would have come to this meeting, but my brother-in-law threw this party and I could not miss it."  "I would have come to the morning worship service, but my aunt from Oklahoma showed up announced."  Or "I would have come, but I had the worst headache of my life."  Exceptional situations do happen and our relatives and our dear ones stop by.  However, a promise given should be a promise kept; otherwise we are becoming liars and very non-dependable.

The third type of people who bug me, for all practical reasons, do not renege at all.  These people will never make you a promise because they are not sure that they will be able to keep them.   They never volunteer for anything in the community at large because they never know what will happen to them from week to week.  They want their children to receive all the benefits from the community, but they are not willing to commit to anything.  They do the same for the church – they drop their children off for all the programs of the church.  However, when they are asked to help, they can never find the dotted line to put their names on and then to transfer this commitment to their calendars.

Within the last years there was a new word that appeared on the political scene.  This word has replaced "truthfulness" with "truthiness."  This is a situation in which you say as little as possible without getting yourself caught. 

Do you practice lying?  Do you tell your children and wife to tell the callers that you are not home, even when you are? You are training your children to lie.  Do your friends count on you because your word is your bond?  Or are you firm when you have made a promise, and you will be there because your word is important and you also want to teach that in order for a community to develop we have to trust one another and depend on one another? 


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Rev. Dr. George Hancock-Stefan

George Hancock-Stefan

Pastor George Hancock-Stefan completed 30 years as the pastor of the great congregation at Central Baptist Church in Atlantic Highlands in 2020. Those 30 years have been a blessed time for him, his wife...