What of honour does it really mean anything? Is a promise just a nice convention that we abide to when all is well? Something that helps us to keep the peace and to make us feel good. Perhaps it is something that gives us a moral significance in our dealings in the world. Then again, is it something we do when we don’t want the restriction of a legal document? Or maybe it is something we give when we want the chance to change our mind and not be held accountable.
When you give your word it is a statement of your being. It is who you are and what you are. You are asking someone else to accept you for what you purport to be with no real credentials other than yourself. With no proof and no security that you will honour your agreement other than your promise to do so based on your handshake. With this sort of arrangement what is to stop you going back on your word or changing your mind. Nothing. So who would give such an undertaking and who would accept such an undertaking?
People whose word means something to them!
Throughout my life I have had a policy of accepting people for what they want themselves to be. A policy of trust and openness that unless or until proven otherwise their word is enough to maintain whatever help or services they receive from me. This of course has put me in some very vulnerable situations. With no guarantees of ever receiving my part of the transaction. And in the majority of cases this was so. In fact it has been rare that a person’s word has meant anything if they decide to change their mind. Once I have completed my part of the deal or if things get a little rough or awkward for them most have offered up some weak excuse and say how much they appreciate my efforts but they have other commitments that are far more important than the one they made with me. So should I stop accepting a person’s word because others have broken theirs? Should I now mistrust everyone because of the lowliness of character of those I have encountered? And what kind of world would we live in? Honour and duty go hand in hand. Those amongst us without the current credentials required for the situation we find ourselves in are the ones in most need of a person whose given word means something more than a token gesture.
Give people a chance. It will be expensive, but unless they prove otherwise, it is a noble thing to do to help make the world a better place for us all.