Priests and the Religious by the nature of their calling make vow/promise/swear to God to live in obedience, chastity and poverty; marriage is contracted between a man and a woman in a marriage covenant to love and to hold in sickness and in health, in poverty and in wealth till death do them part (cf. Rom 7:2; 1 Cor 7:39); the complainant, the defendant, and witnesses take oath with the Bible or Quran or the constitution or the object of the faith to say the truth; and those taking up political offices or someone who is trying to be a citizen of another nation take oath to honor, observe, and defend the constitution of that nation; people make personal promises or vows to God or to self to do or not to do something to expedite one’s prayer or intention or modify one’s behavior.
In true life situations priests and religious may break their vows, married people may break faith, presidents and governors and those in political offices may not fulfil what they promised or vowed to do, people who take oath to say the truth may lie, and those who take oath to defend a country and her constitution may betray the same nation. Even though it is expected that there is repercussion for breaking their vows, oaths, and promises, they may not experience immediate consequences yet one needs to know that promises, vows, oaths, and covenants to God, self or others can bring about biopsychosocial and spiritual consequences. Hence “when a man makes a vow to the LORD or takes an oath to obligate himself by a pledge, he must not break his word but MUST DO EVERYTHING HE SAID” (Num 30:2).
In whatever situation, breaking faith or not keeping the promise or the vow hurts the relationship and of course affect the other party or parties to whom the promise or vow is made. Not keeping the promise or vows makes one a liar and a sinner, a person with no integrity.
The question remains, is it appropriate for unmarried persons make promise or vow to each other?
“Another thing you do: You flood the Lord’s altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer looks with favor on your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands. You ask, “Why?” It is because the Lord is the witness between you and the wife of your youth. You have been unfaithful to her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant.” (Mal 2:13-14)
TO BE CONTINUED…