When you want to be absolutely certain that the vow you are making will be taken with earnest and the receiving party knows you can be trusted there is only one option…
The Pinky Promise
You may not be aware, but the Pinky Promise actually came from a somewhat nefarious origin.
You see the Japanese Mafia, otherwise known as the Yakuza, had (or maybe “has”, I’m not caught up with my modern-day Japanese made-men practices) the practice of severing one’s pinky finger if a vow was broken.
Over the years and given the somewhat politically incorrect act of taking someone finger for breaking a promise that turned into what we know today as the Pinky Promise. A vow so deep that those that break it are often doomed to a life of willful blindness (i.e. needle in the eye) and the hope of death.
But, I would like to assert that promise keeping is not just a thing of old Asian crime lords but that it is essential and fundamental to Christianity and righteousness.
If a man makes a vow to the Lord, or swears an oath to bind himself by some agreement, he shall not break his word; he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth. – Numbers 30:2
When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it; For He has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you have vowed— Better not to vow than to vow and not pay. – Ecclesiastes 5:4-5
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.’ – Matthew 5:33
…That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. – Romans 10:9
There is no question where the Lord stands on promise keeping. He calls those who break vows equal to the one who denies the existence of a Creator (Ecclesiastes 5:4-5, cf. Psalm 14:1). On the other hand, those that keep their word are said to be doing so “to the Lord”, not merely to the man to whom the promise was made (Matthew 5:33). Furthermore, confession (i.e. a vow acknowledging one’s belief in Christ and willingness to live for Him) is one of the active parts of the steps of salvation (Romans 10:9).
When An Apostle Broke A Promise
2 Corinthians 1:19-20 is, in a sense, an apology from the Apostle Paul to the Corinth Church of Christ because he had unwittingly broken a promise to his brethren.
Sure, the reason for his breaking the promise was completely out of his hand but that never takes away the guilt that one feels or the hurt that one causes.
Can you remember a time your parents promised to take you on a trip or to a store but was held back for some reason? You may have pouted or even cried but they didn’t mean to cause you that harm.
As men, we are going to break promises at times. That in no way means that we can have a lax attitude when it comes to our words but there will be times when we fail to keep our word.
The Difference Between Man and God
Therein lies one of the main differences between man and deity. Man has problems that cause him to break vows. Deity has no such problems.
Our Lord is all-powerful, in that there will be no circumstance in which He cannot fulfill His word (Matthew 19:26).
Our Lord is all-knowing, in that there will be no instance when He does not see a problem before it arises (Job 21:22, cf. Luke 12:7).
Our Lord is all-loving, in that even if there were circumstances which could hold Him back and instances in which He didn’t foresee problems He would move the world to keep His word to His creation (cf. Isaiah 43:16-19).
Finances to those who are faithful in giving.
Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, So that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,” Says the Lord of hosts; – Malachi 3:10-11
Guidance in righteousness.
If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” – Luke 11:13
A New Heart to those who follow Him.
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. – Ezekiel 36:26
Forgiveness for those who are guilty.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. – 1 John 1:9
Wisdom for application of the Doctrines of Christ.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. – James 1:5
The truth is, He’s never broken a promise, He will never break a promise and He can’t break a promise.
That may not mean much to you, but it means everything to me because I need His promises.
If I were left to my own, I’d never figure it out. If I didn’t have His promise of physical providence I’d be overcome with fear and anxiety. If I didn’t have the promise of forgiveness I’d be terrified of the Judgment Day.
I’ll leave you with this…
And this is the promise that He has promised us—eternal life. – 1 John 2:25