Oaths, Vows, and Promises

Have we ever thought about the vows or oaths we’ve made in our lifetime? I have, and truthfully, I know that I have made vows and uttered oaths under my breath in ignorance.

This week in my reading, I paused and pondered lines found in the book of Matthew. Again, I reiterate that I am no Bible scholar, but these things come to my mind.

We are told not to take the name of the Lord our God in vain (Exodus 20:7). Reading in a book by Tony Evans, I learned that taking God’s name in vain is the opposite of hallowing it. The word “Vain” means empty or without meaning.

In the past, when I spoke, I swear to G-d…  you fill in the blank. I have not only taken God’s name in vain, but I have also unknowingly made a binding vow.

So, who knows about these vows and promises we have made? All of heaven (Deuteronomy 30:19). And not only heaven but also the accuser. Most of us know that we have an accuser who goes before the court of heaven to accuse the brethren; that would be us believers (Revelation 12:10).

Yes, we are covered by the Blood of Jesus, but what about our vows and oaths? Don’t you think those are binding? 

Sure, we can say; I didn’t mean that but read Matthew 5:33-37

Again, you have heard that it was said to an older generation, ‘Do not break an oath, but fulfill your vows to the Lord. ‘But I say to you, do not take oaths at all—not by heaven, because it is the throne of God, not by earth, because it is his footstool, and not by Jerusalem, because it is the city of the great King. Do not take an oath by your head, because you are not able to make one hair white or black. Let your word be ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no.’ More than this is from the evil one.

I believe these verses support that oaths are binding even when spoken foolishly in everyday conversation or privately. A promise is a promise, and there are no loopholes in God’s eyes to allow a person to back out on their word.

What if our very own vows keep us from moving forward in different areas of our lives? What about those sayings: “I cross my heart and hope to die”? Or even those pledges and promises we agree with our hands on the Bible? Do you believe it is only binding with those in the room when saying such things? Nope, again, we have all of heaven witnessing our words.

I remember when I was just sixteen years old, I was in the hospital hysterically crying. The doctor who was caring for me got right up in my face and said: “why don’t you just grow up and stop your crying.” In that moment, I made a vow, under my breath, that I would never cry again. And up to here recently, I struggled to cry. When I felt the emotion rise inside me, a few tears would steam down my face but would stop quickly and even though I felt the need to cry, the tears would never come. Then I started to believe that I was some cold person because I couldn’t show my tears when such emotions were expected. Thinking everyone around me thought I was some heartless person, I would become uncomfortable and excuse myself.

Spoken from a child confused, scared, and without comfort I made this vow. And this one (1) vow has caused me so much pain because I was unable to process sadness.

I ask you, do you want the vows you’ve made without ‘thinking’ to be binding in the heavens court?

So! What do we do about all the foolish words we have spoken in ignorance? What about the vows we have made and consciously know we have not carried them out?


I went before the Lord, knowing that I can only do so because of the righteousness of Jesus, confessed that I had irrationally made an oath without knowing what I was doing, and asked God for forgiveness.

God is faithful and just and will forgive our sins.

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Then I looked deeper and noted any lies the accuser had bound me with my vow. I was a cold heartless person.

In the mighty name of Jesus Christ, I just said I cut off this bondage off my life. Seeing that sins are passed down generationally (Exodus 20:5), I declare in Jesus’ name that the bondage is cut off my children and grandchildren (and on, if it applies to you).

I then confessed to God that I didn’t even know about all the reckless vows I had made over the years, but asked that God nullify them with the blood of Jesus.

I then ask the Lord to slow my mouth down, ask Holy Spirit to give me wisdom before speaking, and thank King Jesus for his redeeming blood. These steps are done by faith.     

So, let us all “think” before we utter a vow or pledge.

Psalm 15

Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent?
    Who may live on your holy mountain?

The one whose walk is blameless,
    who does what is righteous,
    who speaks the truth from their heart;
 whose tongue utters no slander,
    who does no wrong to a neighbor,
    and casts no slur on others;
 who despises a vile person
    but honors those who fear the Lord;
who keeps an oath even when it hurts,
    and does not change their mind;
 who lends money to the poor without interest;
    who does not accept a bribe against the innocent.

Whoever does these things
    will never be shaken.

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