A man lacking in judgment strikes hands in pledge and puts up security for his neighbor. Proverbs 17:18
I miss the day when I could shake somebody’s hand, and the handshake alone bound the person to whatever was agreed upon. Sadly, trusting your fellow man to do the right thing is a thing of the past. Now we must draw up 50 page contracts promising that we’ll have the garbage ready for the garbage man at precisely 8:00 a.m., or the trash won’t be picked up that week.
Samuel Goldwyn summarized our new attitude the best: A verbal contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.
“Let your yes be yes and let your no be no,” Matthew 5:37 advises us.
Unfortunately, in an era when lawsuits far outnumber honest men, it’s necessary to draw up contracts for large ticket items. Do that if you need to, but if you say you’re going to do something (in a contract or otherwise), do it. It applies to every walk of life. On the other hand, don’t be afraid to turn something down when you’re in the “decision” stage if you know you won’t have the time or priority to accomplish it.
Our word should be as good as a handshake.