“In this world you will have trouble”, Jesus warns. Many of our troubles are created by flawed humans who choose to walk away from promises made. Many make a vow to another person that no matter what they will love you and then they don’t. I had a family member who struggled emotionally all her life because her husband walked away from his vow to never leave or forsake her after one year of marriage. Years later, she remarried and life was much better with a Godly man who truly would love her and keep his vow, but her mind would not allow her to fully trust again or be confident in herself because of that first devastating betrayal. God does not want that for any one of His children. He loves us that much!
Keeping the vow of marriage is what God wants for those who make the promise in front of Him and His people. It’s not just a rule God made in His Law for us to keep but a way to live with God’s best for us. The promise to love is God’s love expressed well in the marriage vow. It is a love that never gives up because He never gave up on us. Paul speaks of the characteristics of God’s love perfected by keeping the vow:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8, NIV
God’s love for us is HIS promise to us. We model God’s unconditional love when we vow to love our spouse like He loves us. God’s best for us is to love well so that we may live well, be well from the inside out and walk with Him in peace.
Moses provided the first divorce paperwork because men were frivolously breaking the vow of marriage leaving their wives in poverty. Jesus, God’s Son, explains what it really meant to break the vow of marriage and the resulting consequences of destroying a Holy relationship.
Before Jesus came, when God’s people were ignoring Him, His prophet Malachi tells us how God really feels about breaking this holy vow,
“The man who hates and divorces his wife,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “does violence to the one he should protect,” says the Lord Almighty. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful.” Malachi 2:16, NIV
Matthew 5, Part 6
31 “It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
33 “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’ 34 But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. 36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. 37 All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.
SAY WHAT YOU MEAN AND DO WHAT YOU SAY!
The Pharisees used all kinds of tricks to sidestep the truth, and oaths were among them. They would avoid using the holy name of God, but they would come close by using the city of Jerusalem, heaven, earth, or some part of the body.
Jesus taught that our conversation should be so honest, and our character so true, that we would not need “crutches” to get people to believe us. Words depend on character, and oaths cannot compensate for a poor character.
Proverbs 10:19 says, “Sin is not ended by multiplying words, but the prudent hold their tongues.”
The more words a man or woman uses to convince us, the more suspicious we should be. Truth only requires a stated fact with little to no explanation. We don’t need to embellish real truth. Truth is embodied in the Person of Jesus.
Dear Heavenly Father,
You are clear about what is best for us, what pleases you and gives you glory. Build your character into our lives. Help us by the power of your Holy Spirit to keep our vows to you. Transform us to be all you intended and created us to be.
In Jesus Name, Amen