We have noted that our community is growing, and an economy is growing with it. This means we have to learn how—as a group—to interact with one another in the mind of Christ. Sometimes we think, rather glibly, that the only way we can wrong others is to do so deliberately—to decide to cheat, or mislead, or misrepresent. And since we are not burglars or perjurers, we think all is good. But in a community of saints like ours, one of the verbs we need to focus on in the years to come is the verb to flake.
Who may dwell in the Lord’s tabernacle? Among other things, the man who swears to his own hurt and does not change (Ps. 15:4). Who may approach the Holy One of Israel? The man who has a clean heart, and who does not flake.
The world’s catechism says that when circumstances change, you are not bound by your oaths and commitments. The doctrine of Christ says that the reason we make oaths and commitments is because we know that circumstances change, and we are promising to be bound whether they change or not.
The world wants to tell you that the reply that was then, this is now is a sufficient answer to those who express concern about the flaking. You wouldn’t have signed the work agreement, you wouldn’t have taken the investment money, you wouldn’t have accepted the contract, and you wouldn’t have committed to the lease, if you had known that people would expect you to be held by it.
Flaking cannot be sanctified by a wave of the hand and a throwaway phrase about how it is all “between brothers.” Yes, it is. That’s what makes it worse. We are to do right by all men, we are to do good to everyone—especially those who are of the household of faith (Gal. 6:10).
Excellent. The cultural expectation against “flaking” was breaking down pretty well in my generation (Xers) at least to the extent that people learned to be adept at finding excuses. With the millennial generation, I’m not sure it’s a cultural expectation that a compelling excuse is even necessary. The church needs to be different, but we’re being undermined at every turn so a conscious stance is necessary. Something that I especially see getting lost is not recognizing informally structured commitments as actually being commitments at the time you make them — if you’re not signing a contract, most people no longer… Read more »
This really was excellent. No flaking out, be a man (or woman) of your word. In the olden days, the word of a good man was everything. Much of scripture is based on the witness and words of good men. When you consider that Christ Himself is called The Word, that we ourselves were spoken into existence, the profound significance and importance of our own word becomes evident.
“Read my lips: No new taxes” came from a hero of an older generation, and my feeling is that his breaking that promise–and has he repented enough to repay anyone?–gave our political culture a significant downward nudge, reducing our trust in politicians quite a bit. / An article in Reason magazine (libertarian) at the time, POSsibly by Loren Lomasky, argued that President Bush Sr’s habit of breaking promises (no quota bill was another) was unwise practice even if each and every breach of promise was an improvement over what had been promised.
I think the problem that Andrew notes is that the promise-breaking (which was in this case and most others almost certainly a form of lying) was done by someone still considerd a hero, and not a hero with a promise-breaking fault, but a hero whose faults are justified and even portrayed as acceptable and simply the norm.
It’s fine to note that all politicians lie if you call all of them liars, and refuse to sanctfy them.
Right, it’s about normalization, not the bare fact that people do in fact break their promises. That’s nothing new.
I think all of those political lies and politicians not being men of their word has really contributed to our culture of distrust and cynicism. So it’s not like God grades on a curve of anything, it’s not as if Roosevelt was worse than Bush Sr, it’s that the cumulative impact of sin takes it’s toll on all of us. So, first politicians tell little white lies, and than salesmen, and before you know it, you’ve got this whole culture where commitment no longer matters, where no one’s word means much of anything anymore and we change marriages like we… Read more »
Or Truman claiming that we needed to drop nukes on Japan to end the war, when virtually every leader in the military and intelligence had already told him that Japan was already beat and nukes were unnecessary, and his own diary from back in June said, “August 15th, Russia invades, Japan fin” written in it. And many others, of course. There are some politicians who I feel have lied more than others. And there’s significance in that. But even more important to me – how do their supporters act when the politician is caught in a lie? Do they acknowledge… Read more »
I also discovered recently that swearing’s more likely to hurt if you don’t ask enough questions. “Sure I can get that done before Christmas” turned into some long all-nighter hours when the project turned out to be about three times as big as I assumed it was. But that was my fault for not getting the details…not the client’s!
This one needs to zoom out: Psalm 15 1 Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent? Who may live on your holy mountain? 2 The one whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from their heart; 3 whose tongue utters no slander, who does no wrong to a neighbor,and casts no slur on others; 4 who despises a vile person but honors those who fear the Lord; who keeps an oath even when it hurts, and does not change their mind; 5 who lends money to the poor without interest; who does not… Read more »