I had a moral dilemma that morning.
I was trying to sell my car and had to make the decision that same day as to whether to sell it or trade it in. I had someone who expressed interest in the car, but slashed my asking price by 1/3. It was still more than the trade-in value, however; so I finally told him he could have the car. I didn’t hear back from him right away, and when I received another potential offer on the car at a higher value, a big part of me hoped he had disappeared into thin air. I was quite disappointed when he messaged me this morning saying he still wanted the car. Of course I want more money for the car, so I proceeded to compose a message to him, letting him know I had sold it to a higher bidder. This IS, after all, the way of the world. He WOULD understand that!
Somehow this reasoning doesn’t sit well with me, however. Sure, it’s the way of the world. But although I am IN the world, I am told to NOT be OF the world (See John 17:13-19). Does this mean that I can’t follow in the footsteps of the world and break my promise to this first buyer, even when it means several thousand extra dollars in my pocket?
As I contemplated this, I was reminded of another important Biblical truth: God requires us to keep our promises! Check out these verses: “When a man makes a vow to the Lordor takes an oath to obligate himself by a pledge, he must not break his word but must do everything he said.” (Numbers 30:2 NIV). The world’s wisest man also says, “When you make a vow to God, do not delay to fulfill it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it.” (Eccl. 5:4-5 NIV).
Old covenant, you say? Well check out this verse: “Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor.” (Eph. 4:25 NIV). Remember, when we don’t keep our promises, then the actual promise becomes a lie!
And then, as I contemplated all of that, I was reminded of something else, something that we all stake our Christianity upon: God never breaks His promises. Rather, He says: “…so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11 NIV). He says, “You have seen correctly, for I am watching to see that my word is fulfilled.”(Jeremiah 1:12 NIV). He says, “None of my words will be delayed any longer; whatever I say will be fulfilled…” (Ezekiel 12:28 NIV). He says, “I will not violate my covenant or alter what my lips have uttered.” (Ps. 89:34 NIV).
I could go on, but I think you get the point: God keeps His promises! And since God is our ultimate example, since we are told to follow in His steps (see 1 Peter 2:21), shouldn’t we, then, also keep our promises?
One more thing came to mind as I thought about this… “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus.” (Col. 3:17 NIV). This raised an interesting question: If I lie by making a promise and then I don’t keep it, what kind of a picture of my Lord and Saviour am I presenting to a lost and fallen world?
But so what. These people were strangers. They didn’t even know I’m a Christian…
Wait. Was I passing up an opportunity to perhaps influence someone for the Kingdom of God?
Fortunately, I never pressed “send” to my message. Instead I composed a new message, one telling him that he could still have the car. And in the process, I signed my name with, “God bless you”! After all, isn’t this person precious in God’s eyes? Isn’t the potential salvation of one person worth a lot more than a few thousand dollars?
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart
Moderator, Associate Director
(To access the entire “Selling My Mazda” mini-series, please click here.)