Question:

I used to let my mouth get the best of me. I have learned to watch what I say very closely. The problem I have is this: because I'm trying to be so careful with what I say, I constantly think about whether I promise or vow something. My mind runs away from me and thinks the words of a promise. I'm not consciously trying to make a promise. And I'm afraid my thoughts will be taken as binding vows, oaths, or promises, even though I don't verbally speak them. I'm not intending to make promises except where necessary. Does God take my thoughts as binding or only when I deliberately speak a promise?


Answer:

You are acting as the Pharisees of old, trying to distill God's commands down to precise divisions instead of paying attention to what God said. "But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God's throne; nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No.' For whatever is more than these is from the evil one" (Matthew 5:34-37). The point is that you say want you mean and mean what you say. For a Christian vows are totally unnecessary because they do not change a Christian's behavior.