Sunday, November 3, 2013

My word is my bond

I am reminded of how a man once told me why he had kept a promise to his father-in-law concerning his young bride: "I had to; I gave my word."  The statement should hardly require any description of its tone: it was as terse and self-assured when spoken as it is now when written.  I soon learned, of course, that every promise this man then made to me, whom he had so graciously assured from our first meeting of his impervious honor, was a word he had no compunction about breaking.  Perhaps it was because I was not the man's kin, although, notwithstanding how he may have kept some word to his father-in-law, he was no stranger to being treacherous to kin.  Perhaps it was because he regarded me as reprobate, and goodness knows we publicans salute our brethren only.  In any case, his principles were not as he had so succinctly stated them, and indeed it is universally so with such subjective declarations.  Honorable men should have no need of declaring their honor.  The man who makes a point of telling you that his word is his bond and that he cannot break it is more likely than most men to lie as it suits him and have within himself a ready-made excuse for his dishonorable deeds and empty words.

2 comments:

  1. Great post.

    A few years ago, I was helping my youngest daughter look for a car. We went to one dealer who made it a point to tell me that he was an HONEST man. As soon as he said that, I didn't trust him. True character is shown by actions rather than words.

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    1. Thanks, Bruce. Nicely said, and a good anecdote illustrating the point. That's pretty much wholly consistent with my experience too.

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