Jamie Jenkins: Promises


I was stopped at a traffic light when I saw a sign posted in the grass beside the street. In simple block letters it read: "Psychic Help, All problems solved." I was intrigued, amused, and a bit irritated.

All problems solved! That is a rather audacious claim. Not some. Not many or most. ALL! And the claim was not that the circumstances could be improved. A solution was promised.

I thought to myself that surely no one would really take this seriously. No one would believe that. But I knew better. People are looking for easy answers to their problems. They want someone to "fix it."

You can see products advertised all the time that promise astounding results. They are on the shelves of retails stores everywhere. Television infomercials offer miraculous claims and, if you act now, they will give you a second item for free.

Politicians regularly promise change that will make our lives better and it won't cost the taxpayer anything. In a speech to the Detroit Economic Club President Bill Clinton said, "No wonder Americans hate politics when, year after year, they hear politicians make promises that won't come true because they don't even mean them."

People lose money every day because they believe somebody's claim that they can make a fortune with an investment that is supposed to yield astronomical returns. Although we know it, we should heed Theodore Parker's advice. "Magnificent promises are always to be suspected."

We have heard it so many times that you would think it had sunk in. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Pass it up or at least check it out before accepting the offer.

Many time people fall prey to predators who offer easy answers and unrealistic claims because their lives seem out of control. Gordon Atkinson said, "When life seems chaotic, you don't need people giving you easy answers or cheap promises. There might not be any answers to your problems. What you need is a safe place where you can bounce with people who have made some bad hops of their own."

In other words, there is not always an easy way out of your dilemma or a quick solution to address the problem. Sometimes you have to learn from your own mistakes, and from the experiences of others.

Ludicrous promises are abundant. Beware of anything that promises everything. However, some extraordinary promises are true and the experiences of millions of persons over centuries of time validate them. In the Bible Jesus promises forgiveness and full life (Luke 7:36-50, John 10:10). Seems ridiculous but I have found it to be true. Check it out.

From Jamie's blog, Thoughts for Thursday.