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Q. I have OCD over making vows as a compulsion. How do I need to handle this in light of Scripture’s teaching on vows?


Dear *****,

Thanks for your question. The first thing I would say is that the Scriptures are clear in their instruction not to make foolish vows, and are also clear about instructing us to keep our vows.

Having said this, my attention goes to Jephthah in Judges chapter 11. He made a foolish vow, and while scholars disagree about what actually happened to his daughter, it seems clear to me at least that Jephthah should not fulfill his vow if it meant sacrificing his daughter. What, then, should Jephthah (or anyone else who makes a foolish vow) do? They should not fulfill a vow that would actually result in sin. Instead, they should deal with their foolish vow-making as sin.

This being the case, this Scripture would apply:

1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us. 2:1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; 2 and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world (1 John 1:8-2:2, NASB).

Deal with this sin as you would any other sin, confess it, forsake it, and move on. And whenever you are tempted to make a foolish vow again, reject the thought as you would any other temptation. Will you fail from time to time? Yes. So confess it and remember that you have an Advocate with the Father, the Lord Jesus Christ.


Bob Deffinbaugh

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