Egmont Mika

How Much Is Half a Promise Worth?

If you are hungry, half a hamburger is better than nothing.

If you need to finance a project, raising only half of the money is better than no money at all. If you’re expecting a thousand people to read your article and only five hundred actually read it, this is still better than none.

Many times, half is better than nothing. But not always. What about half a promise?

  • If you ask a baby sitter to come over…
  • If you invite friends for dinner…
  • If you need a partner for your project…
  • If you want to marry…

…and the answer you get never surpasses a ”maybe”, I would call this giving half a promise.

Half a promise can be worse than no promise.

With a ”no”, you still had the choice of asking someone else, but with a ”maybe” you are stuck. You don’t get anywhere, and things can get even worse. Like, when “promising” a beach vacation to your family, or “agreeing” to engage in a project, or “promising” a life-long marriage - and never getting beyond a “maybe”…

In these cases, half a promise can end in a sheer disaster for you and for whoever partners with you.

The same is true for our decision to follow Jesus. He expects us to give him a clear ”yes” or ”no”, not a ”maybe”.

And pretending would be even worse than that.

It’s good for you and me to make up our minds and know what we want and what we don’t want to engage in. And it’s a blessing for everyone around us when we are able give them a clear ”yes” or ”no”.

If you can’t give a wholehearted promise, it’s probably better not to give any.