The Power of Commitment
“We mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”
Do you think the signers of the Declaration of Independence completely understood what they were committing too when they penned those words? The words were bold and unequivocal, but did they really think that signing that piece of paper might cost them their lives and their fortunes?
I remember well the day I made a commitment to my wife at the altar of marriage. The words that committed me to a sacred bond of matrimony rolled easily off my lips. Now, after more than thirty years, I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt that I didn’t fully understand what I was committing to. Neither did she. But commit we did. From that moment forward we were pledged to each other, for better or for worse. The power of the commitment and our pledge to each other has guided us through doubts, difficulties, and diversions. Today, we enjoy the blessings of successfully marital relationship because we remained true to and worked in harmony with the commitment we both made that day.
Many of the signers of the Declaration of Independence did indeed pay for their commitment with their lives and their fortunes, but they did not retreat from the commitment because of their sacred honor. Perhaps they did not fully understand how their lives would change when they signed that document, but they DID understand how to make and keep that commitment.
Commitment brings resolve. Commitment brings clarity of purpose. Commitment sets boundaries on actions. Commitment motivates. Commitment clarifies intent. Commitment to something greater than yourself guides every decision from that point forward.
Commitment kills complacency.
Like the Declaration of Independence, our Constitution was founded on a pledge, a commitment of We The People to establish justice through a more perfect union. It laid the foundation of individual liberties, set boundaries of governmental power, and gave birth to the notion of equality under the law. Did all the states really understand what they were committing to when they ratified the Constitution? Probably not. But commit they did, and then like any good marriage, the struggle to live up to those principles and commitments began.
We are the beneficiaries of those commitments, and the commitments of subsequent generations who fought to secure the blessings of individual liberty, limit the bounds of governmental power, and secure equality under the law.
If you were asked to sign the Declaration of Independence or vote to ratify the Constitution, would you do it? Would you commit to that same struggle today, or would you shy away because you were worried about the difficulties you might face upholding that commitment?
This Fourth of July, I challenge you to commit to the Constitution of the United States by taking an oath to support and defend it.