Broken Promises

Several years ago I found myself suddenly dating a boy that had been my best friend for years. Making that transition was tough.

I was scared to let someone who was so close to me come closer. I was all too familiar with the worst case scenario. Plus, I had watched him jump from one failed relationship to another and was a little too familiar with his tendency to bail when things intensified. All this left me feeling…petrified.

He sensed my walls and knew that they were going to keep us from ever really knowing what might be.

“I will never hurt you.”

The words, the promise, slipped out of his mouth so easily.

And I naively took them to heart.

After all, this could be “it.”

Turns out this wasn’t in fact “it.”

A year later, I found myself angrily questioning how things could have gone so wrong, how I could have left myself so vulnerable to heart break, and how his promise had turned out to be nothing more than a big fat lie.

Today, if I know anything, I know that the promise he made is a promise that no one can keep.

We hurt people. We do. We hurt people we love. We hurt people unintentionally. And if we are honest, on rare occasions, we hurt people intentionally.

We are broken. And hence, so are our promises.

What promises have you made that you couldn’t keep?


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Lindsey has a sincere love for her precious dogs Molly and Maisy, a good red wine and the Delta Sky Club.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • I think a few times I have been the speaker of a promise like that. It is true. People hurt people, especially people we love. I think promises like that come from a very pure place in the heart but often times are not realistic.

    Another promise that I have heard that is really scary is: I will only do what is best for you. That is a crazy hard promise to keep when we are all selfish by nature.

  • I promised my former pastor that I would support him no matter what. Eleven months ago, I broke that promise. My husband and I stepped out of our positions on staff and left the church.

    I suppose I made the promise on the assumption that “no matter what” would never include him wounding me personally. In actuality, I didn’t mean that I would support him no matter what. I meant that I would support him as long as he didn’t hurt me…and that’s not “no matter what.” That’s “as long as…”I broke my promise, and I wish all the pain and hurt could be erased. Instead, I’m begging God to come and heal. I’m holding on to the hope that He will.

  • StephanieinLexington

    Hi Lindsey! Thanks for being so real; I had a very similar experience back in the day, and it’s true, we’re by nature going to hurt one another … and that’s a promise that just cannot be kept. Still stings, though.

    My answer is probably that “I”ll give it my all.” I try to give most things in my life my all, but the simple fact is there are limits. Every day cannot be a 110% day, and we sometimes have to say no to invitations or activities. Sometimes you have to take a step back, rest, and give yourself grace if it was a 98% … or maybe even a 87% day. We are only human.

  • that I can deliver solutions. that i can close on opportunities.

    i think these are more promises that i tell myself though. almost like sometimes i think that i am super human

  • I over commit. I want to do everything, but fail to see the implications. In the process, I break promises I really wanted to keep.


  • This always amazes me about God’s love for us. We make promises and we break them. Yet he still loves us.

  • A very profound insight on relationships. My perspective isn’t too different from yours, but then again, I imagine many people can relate to your place in life.

    Thanks for sharing.

  • I’m losing sleep to keep a few promises right now, but I’m trusting that short-term it’s okay. On the other side, as a mom I almost constantly battle the feeling of failure. Whenever I have to say “not now” or “not yet” with my time to my kids, I feel like I’ve broken an unsaid/unwritten promise. Thankfully I don’t live by my feelings but in the truth and freedom and reality of Jesus!

  • I’m sorry that dumb boy broke his promise. However, I’ve never really thought about how we make promises like that (with good intentions hopefully) and yet we fail because they are impossible to keep as flawed human beings.

    • Really it wasn’t his fault…I know now it couldn’t be avoided. 🙂

  • Anonymous

    I think going through something like this always makes you sensitive to these kinds of promises. I do my best to NOT use the words like “never” or “always” when making any commitment.