Lord, help me to stand faithfully with You in the midst of a world that has lost its center.
Read: Matthew 14:1-12
 At that time Herod the tetrarch heard the reports about Jesus,  and he said to his attendants, “This is John the Baptist; he has risen from the dead! That is why miraculous powers are at work in him.”  Now Herod had arrested John and bound him and put him in prison because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife,  for John had been saying to him: “It is not lawful for you to have her.”  Herod wanted to kill John, but he was afraid of the people, because they considered John a prophet.  On Herod’s birthday the daughter of Herodias danced for the guests and pleased Herod so much  that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked.  Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.” The king was distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he ordered that her request be granted  and had John beheaded in the prison.  His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl, who carried it to her mother.  John’s disciples came and took his body and buried it. Then they went and told Jesus.
Reflect: What motivated Herod?
What a contrast here between Herod’s extreme self-interest and John’s reliance on God. John pulls no punches in his advice to the ruler. Rather than face John’s hard words (3,4), Herod puts him out of sight in prison, only prolonging his life because he fears the reaction of his people (5). Later Herod is distressed when put in a situation by Herodias where he seems to have no alternative but to kill John (9). He feels he will lose face if he does not stick with his promise. He is a man ruled by schemers and by the fear of what people will think of him.
Do we ever promise something without giving thought to potential consequences? If so, are we honest enough to take responsibility for our failings? A badly made promise might not have the extreme consequences we see here, but there will almost certainly be an effect, perhaps involving a lack of future trust. Sometimes we have to break promises in order to avoid causing greater damage. In this case we have to ask forgiveness from the person concerned and be prepared to move on, whatever his or her reaction may be.
Consider your words carefully. Do not speak rashly. Keep your promises. These are foundations of integrity and trust.
Lord, Your word has substance. You speak only from what is true, and all You speak comes to be. I safely trust in You.