Morality of Keeping Promises: Why is It Important to Keep Promises

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From biblical readings, social scientists and philosophers a promise is defined as a moral or voluntary obligation. Keeping a promise is morally important for quite a number of reasons. First, it maintains a healthy and happy relationship between the parties involved. Having in mind that you have someone you can trust is pivotal in any relationship. Secondly it allows one to open up to someone they value on certain things that are personal to one with the commitment of not revealing to anyone else. Thirdly, as a Christian according to the book of Ecclesiastes chapter 5 versus 5,” it is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it” (New International Version). This means when you break a promise you are lying and therefore lowers your moral standards.

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Fourthly, a promise keeps everyone who makes it accountable for their actions and words, it also involves utmost trust and respect that people feel towards one another. Trust gives security which builds happy and healthy relationships. Keeping a promise moreover, defines one’s character and what other people think of you. Our actions and words are the building blocks of our existence. Keeping a promise also acts as a measure of one’s integrity and reliability. Aristotle a prominent philosopher stated that promise-keeping is directly mandated by virtues, specifically justice and honesty.

I don’t believe it is ever morally permissible to break a promise. During war time for example the soldiers are supposed to band together as confederates, promise-keeping here is rational. If having a reputation as a promise breaker you would be endangering your colleagues and this might lead to being gotten rid from the army. Christians make promises in several occasions, an example is during marriage. These promises are considered weighty and very vital. Failure to keep that promise for example committing adultery is considered violation of the ten commandments mentioned in the book of Genesis and thus invites distrust and conflicts in our relationships (Stivers, and Martin-Schramm,2016).

Unfortunately, not all promises would be kept, adhered to or fulfilled and it is normal. In a situation where a promise was made under fall pretense, deception or even on basis of lies and later broken distrust would be created between me and the individual and in future such individual would not be considered. For a case of marriage, filing a divorce suit would be the order the day if the spouse has been chronically breaking promises.

Sometimes, it is morally obligatory to break a promise. Some of the situations that justifies this include, assuming that you were to go for a dinner date with a friend and an hour to the date your mother becomes ill. To maintain a state of sanity, it becomes morally obligatory to break the promise of going out and take the mother to the hospital. This is where ethnical egoism comes in place. (Jones 2017, page 57)

Works Cited

  1. Liberman, Alida. 'Permissible Promise-Making Under Uncertainty.' Journal of the American Philosophical Association 5.4 (2019): 468-486.
  2. Firedancing, Kristoff. The Unbreakable Promise. Diss. 2017.
  3. Florian, Ederer, and Alexander Stremitzer. 'Moral Institutions of Promise Keeping.' (2018).

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