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They do not respect hateful people but honor those who honor the Lord. They keep their promises to their neighbors, even when it hurts. (NCV)

All of us regret decisions we have made from time to time. Sometimes those decisions involve finances. Sometimes they involve decisions based on passion. They almost always affect relationships either negatively or positively.

A friend of mine tells the story of a vision he had for a business. He prayed about the idea and felt in his heart that he had the go ahead to pursue the venture. The one stumbling point was money. He approached his father with the idea and they both prayed and contemplated the idea. It seemed good to them so his father put up money from the equity in his house as well as some retirement account to join in the venture.

Then, the inevitable happened. The economy crashed and my friend lost his business. That, however, wasn’t the worst of it. As a result of his business failure, both he and his father lost their homes as well as the small amount his father had in a retirement account.

“Looking back,” my friend tells me, “We both had some apprehension about the idea but for some reason we decided to go ahead with the plan.”

The situation caused some real strains on the relationship my friend had with his father for several weeks. However, in the course of that difficult time financially, his Dad never once placed all the blame on my friend.

“In the course of our conversations we forgave each other for not listening a little closer to the Spirit. We both admitted to each other, and our God, that our ‘answer to prayer’ may have been our own human voice and not the voice of God and reason. Still, Dad and I maintained a good relationship even during the strained times.”

That story, difficult as it is, reminds me of the verse in Psalm 15. A man of God keeps his promises even when the results cause him hurt. He doesn’t keep them because they benefit him; he keeps them because they honor the Lord.

That principle should guide each of us in our financial dealings, our dealings in our jobs, and in all our relationships. My friend learned a painful and valuable lesson to listen carefully to the Spirit’s voice. But he learned another valuable lesson from his earthly father.

A promise is a promise. Period. If we think about it, isn’t that what our Heavenly Father does for us every day? We get up in the morning and promise not to engage in road rage…until we are cut off in traffic. We promise not to listen to the vulgar jokes at work…until we enter the break room. We promise not to snap at our family…until we can’t find the remote. We promise God that we’ll get up early in the morning to spend time with him…until the alarm rings.

Regardless of how many promises we break, our Heavenly Father keeps his promises to us. Even when it hurts him. He promises to love us, to walk by our side, to forgive us and a whole list of other promises. His promises are based on his ability to keep them, not on our ability to keep ours.

PRAYER: Father I praise you for your patience with me. I praise you for the fact that even though I can’t keep my promises, you always keep yours. Help me to show that kind of faith and patience with those around me that continually break their promises so that your name will be glorified. Amen.

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April 2012
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